Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson

Listening to: I'll Be There by: The Jackson 5

In my 2 months that I have been in Copenhagen I haven't paid attention to any kind of news. I don't have a TV here and only have my laptop to get to the outside world as far as news goes. I found out last night along with the rest of the world that Michael Jackson died of heart attack suddenly. I am sadden by this for sure. I grew up listening to Michael Jackson and remember having the Thriller album and I would not leave it out of my sight. I also remember watching the Thriller video over and over. It was my favorite. Wow did I have a crush on him! Of course, after he turned white he got incredibly weird and soo much negativity was in the news about him but who cares. He is an icon of music and he will never be forgotten. What a tragic loss.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sankt Hans...Bonfires and more..

Listening to: Lover's Spit by: Broken Social Scene

Sankt Hans (St. John's Eve) is in relation to the celebration of midsummer which is June 24 but celebrations in Denmark take place the evening of June 23. It was an official holiday until 1770. It is the day where the medieval wise men and women (the doctors of that time) would gather special herbs that they needed for the rest of the year to cure people.

It has been celebrated since the times of the Vikings by visiting healing water wells and making a large bonfire to ward away evil spirits. Today the water well tradition is gone. Bonfires on the beach, speeches, picnics and songs are traditional, although bonfires are built in many other places where beaches may not be close by (i.e. on the shores of lakes and other waterways, parks, etc.)

Holger Drachmann and P. E. Lange-Müller wrote a midsommervise (Midsummer hymn) in 1885 called "Vi elsker vort land..." ("We Love Our Country") that is sung at every bonfire on this evening. (

Yes, I experienced this celebration and to me it is a bit strange to celebrate the burning of witches but that is the thing that most fascinates me about Denmark is the slight strangeness it holds. You have to experience it for yourself to understand. The celebration in relation to American holidays reminded me of a combination of Halloween (regarding the witches) and the 4th of July (fires, singing songs and picnics). That is really the best way I could explain it. My friend and I traveled to Christianshaven an area on the other side of the canals. We went to an outdoor cafe that sits right along the canals. When we arrived a bonfire was burning on a raft and everyone was singing Vi elsker vort land..." ("We Love Our Country"). There were numerous people just gathered all around the edge of the canals and lakes. Wherever you went there were bonfires and parties going on. I have seen nothing like it. My friend's father owns a boat and he had it docked at the cafe on the canal and we took a ride on that. By this time it was close to 11pm and it wasn't fully dark. It was soo beautiful to be boating on the canals at this time.

After the canal ride my friend and I stopped over at one more party which was being held under a bridge with a huge bonfire and djs. It reminded me of something out of a movie at first as I walked under the bridge. Usually under bridges drug dealers and such hang out and it can be dodgy and the scene looked just like that at first sight. Obviously when you get there it is really great and everyone is just having an amazing time. No sketchy people in sight. I took a number of photos and then decided to head home because even though it was the longest day of the year and a nice warm day the night proved to be a bit colder and I was freezing. Just needed to go home and get under my warm covers.


Listening to: Sugar Pill by: Ambulance LTD.

Today Trine spoke at a Højskole which is an educational institute that you can go to study different areas of interest. It is mostly creative based classes you can take such as photography and music. These kinds of schools are located throughout Denmark. Anyone can apply for these schools. They cost some money but it isn't expensive like it is in America. It is a great concept and I have read about this before I arrived in Denmark. They are also called Folklore schools. I am very interested in maybe applying to one for photography. I think it would be a great experience. Since I heard about these kind of schools before it was a real treat for me to actually go to one. As we walked in the entrance the whole lobby area was like the outside. In other words they turned the inside into the outside. There were trees and plants all over. I felt like I was walking through a greenhouse. It was pretty amazing. We entered the classroom and Trine set up right away and began her presentation. She was showing all her photos that she has recently exhibited and they were breathtaking. The students really seemed to engage in what she was saying and asked a lot of questions. It is really interesting when you don't know the language how you observe people in a different way. I notice body language and facial expressions much more when I don't understand the language. On our way back to the studio I expressed to Trine what I thought of the presentation even though I didn't understand what she was saying. I was pretty much dead on about how the students interacted with her. Just goes to show you don't just need language to communicate.

I myself got to talk to some of the students who were from all walks of life and were some of the most inspirational I have come to know. One woman gave me information about an International Højskole that I am interested in checking out. I really love the concept and Trine was right this was a great experience for me.

Monday, June 22, 2009

First Day

Listening to: Straight Lines to Badlands by: South

Well I had my first day working with Trine Søndergaard and needless to say I was a bit nervous. She is working on this big group exhibit that her and about 14 artists are going to be participating in. She has to submit a number of landscape photos so my job is to clean them up. She shoots in film and then scans each picture which then acquires some dust and scratches. We then touch up each photo in Photoshop. It takes quite a long time to examine each photo. I worked on that most of the day and will be doing that kind of work for a few more days at least. Tomorrow Trine speaks in front of a Højskole class and has asked me to attend. I won't be able to understand the presentation because it will be in Danish but she thinks the experience will be a good one anyway. I am looking forward to it.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

BBQ and a Party Raft

Photo: Jens Refsgaard

Listening to: Introducing Palace Players by: Mew

Today was one of those absolutely perfect days that weather-wise started out a bit tricky. I have been planning on going to this picnic I was invited to on the Island Brygge which is on the other side of the canals. When I woke up in the morning it was raining and then the sun would come out and off and on like that for most of the morning. I thought for sure the picnic would be canceled. Not a chance. My friend told me if Danes depended on the weather being good there would never be a picnic in the first place. You have to have Danish optimism and just go for it and hope for the best and that is exactly what we did. Sure enough a few minutes into the bike ride to the picnic we get caught in a brief but annoying rainstorm. We had to take cover under a tree which worked out perfect. Finally we get there and the sun comes out but the clouds still look threatening. Talk about optimism there is a wedding party right by where we are bbqing and the wedding cake looks like it could blow away any second due to the strong winds that keep howling. In about an hours time into the picnic my friend runs into some other friends that she went to high school with. They tell her that they have a raft that they are going to take out today and asked if we wanted to join. I wasn't so inclined at first because I just got to my friend's picnic and thought it was rude just to run off right away but my friend was soo cool with it and she said that the picnic will be going on for hours. So away I went on this big wooden raft. It had everything, a grill, radio, beer, blankets and great company. What more can I ask for? We traveled around the canals for about most of the afternoon and ended up having a bbq on the raft. My friend and I were put up to the test of grilling. Well, we didn't do soo well and ended up burning the first pack of sausages. ooppss! We also started just picking people up along the route randomly and sure enough I meet someone that have mutual friends. Very small city I must say. Gotta love that. The whole experience was amazing and I just love being on a boat in the summer but of course it wasn't smooth sailing. As we turn the corner one of the Canal Tour boats side swipe us. No one was hurt but there was a bit of damage on the right hand side of the raft. We had to stop and talk with the guy who hit us. Of course I hear that never happens in Copenhagen! Why am I always involved with things here that never happen here?? Just my dumb luck I guess. We finally arrive back to where we started and sure enough the picnic is still going on and now everyone is playing a traditional Nordic game called the Viking game or Kubb. I was all about getting involved in this and it was a lot of fun to play but a bit weird too. It kind of reminded me of when Americans play horseshoes. Here is a bit more about the game....

After we were done competing we headed back to a friend's place to hang out however my time was limited due to heading off to the bar to work. By the way, the weather held up for the rest of the day. Danish optimism prevailed!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Photo by: Miriam

Listening to: Doesn't Matter by: Kasper Bjørke

I am not a big fan of rain especially when I have to travel in it but when I don't have that much to do and can just enjoy the noise of the raindrops falling to the surface that is when I love it the most. It was late afternoon and a thunderstorm was sweeping through the area. Thunderstorms are my favorite, however this time after the lightning and thunder subsided bright sun emerged. I noticed there were still dark clouds around and sure enough it started to rain but also the sun shown very bright. Perfect opportunity for a rainbow. Sure enough I go to the back door and I can see one in the distance. Of course it was a great opportunity to get some photos. Later on in the day, my friend came over and we called one of our dear friends via Skype. He is living in London at the moment and working on music. A really nice photo was taken of him by Miriam.


Listening to: Help Is Round The Corner by: Coldplay

One of my goals while I am in Copenhagen is to meet with photographers and get a chance to either assist them or "job shadow". I have been getting a bit frustrated about it but finally got a response from two photographers that are married and are very well established in their careers. Trine Søndergaard ( and Nicolai Howalt ( documentary based photographers who have exhibited their works for years not only in Scandinavia but also abroad. Nicolai will be having an upcoming exhibit in NYC in September which is great because I will be back by then and will definitely be attending the opening. I met with Trine and talked to her about what I wanted to do and she said that her assistant just left and that she would like if I came into the studio and help her with some retouching of photos and maybe some other things. I am very excited and looking forward to working with her.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Photo by: Miriam

Photo by: Miriam

Photo by: Miriam

Listening to: Pagan Poetry by: Björk

My friend and I were sitting in a bar one evening after riding around the city on our bikes. She has borrowed a Christiana bike in order to move some of her belongings. As we sit and talk about how difficult they can be to ride and get used to balancing. We then get the idea of picking up our friends in it. One of our friends has recently had knee surgery and is not able to do much at all. We thought it would be perfect to pick him up and take him to the park for the day. Also, we have another friend coming in from NYC who will be here for 3 weeks. He has been here before but never got a proper welcome. We decided to surprise him by picking him up at his hotel with the decorated Christiana bike and take him to the King's Garden for a nice picnic breakfast. Both friends were pleasantly surprised especially our friend from NYC, except he wanted to ride my bike instead of us driving him around in the Christiana bike. It was the perfect morning except for it being a bit cold. My friend and I both got up very early in order to be at his hotel on time. It was soo nice to have a breakfast in the park and also some nice mimosas! I think both of our friends enjoyed their surprises and a true Danish experience. That doesn't happen in NYC I can tell you that.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


space space space
Solitude maybe just for a few minutes
maybe forever
My thoughts need to be
left with me
And me only
share some
Never all
no feelings
Many feelings
what does it all mean
Nothing...absolutely nothing...

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Listening to: Take It or Leave It by: The Strokes

My friend and I decide to take a walk for a little bit before I have to head off to work for the evening. We are both working together and wanted to get outside since it was finally a sunny day. We experienced a week of rain and finally it is nice outside. As we start walking toward Bankeråts to get a bite to eat we walk down Nansensgade ad discover a street party is going on. My friend knows a few other people hanging out on the street and we decide to join and get a beer. There are djs outside and a performance soon to happen. My friend and I walk into the boutique that is putting on the festivities and I look up and behind the counter is one of my best friend's sisters who just happen to own the store. I knew she owned a clothing store but I just didn't realize it was that one. The store is called Ymerdress and they were just having a street party to get people into the shop. It is a really great place and I am going to buy something from there soon. It was a great surprise to have things like that randomly happen. The performance that happened later was hilarous. It was these two middle aged guys in funny costumes singing comical songs about Denmark, America and famous people in Denmark. I couldn't understand most of what they were singing because it was in Danish but I have to admit the songs were very catchy and the guys were soo funny. It was the perfect afternoon before a long night of work.

Check out...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Back to CPH

Listening to: Man my Machine by: Kasper Bjørke

The train ride is quite intriguing as you have a lot of time to think and observe. I had a 3 and half hour train ride which left at 9pm and got me back to CPH at 12:30am. I looked out the window for a good hour just watching all the different areas of Denmark pass me as I listen to my ipod. Then I sit and read for a bit which I am totally enjoying the Leonard Cohen book Beautiful Losers. As I am on the train I think a lot about what my plans are after I leave this great country and get back to reality in the US. I have soo many mixed feelings on it. Do I want to go back to the same life I left?? Where do I want to live? Do I want to go home to PA for the rest of the summer and spend well needed time with my family? I start to panic and think that my time in Denmark is getting shorter by the minute and I need to really make an impact here. Sometimes it might be better when I don't have soo much time to think about things especially the future. All I realize are that my thoughts are just me talking to myself internally. Then all this intense thinking is interrupted by a few text messages from my friends back in CPH that want to meet up right when I get off the train. This certainly gets me out of my paranoid state and anxious to get back to CPH. This is why I love my friends they are always there when I need them even if they don't realize it.

Århus Part 2

Listening to: Venus in Furs by: The Velvet Underground

After having a plentiful breakfast of eggs, bacon, bread, tebirkes and yogurt we all headed to The Old Town which is an open-air village museum consisting of 75 historical buildings collected from 20 townships in all parts of the country.

The museum buildings are organized into a small village of chiefly half-timbered structures originally erected between 1550 and the late 1800s in various parts of the country and later moved to Århus during the 1900s (from

I absolutely loved it and was very happy the weather turned out to be pretty nice too. It was definitely a tourist thing to do but when you are in Århus you must do it. As I took my pictures I noticed in the distance a tall newly constructed building which contrasted a lot of Old Town photos. It is called the Prismet and I found out there was much controversy in having this built due to it taking away the quaintness and view of The Old Town. It was finally erected in 2001. I must say that it is weird to see this building in some of photos when I am trying to project the feel of The Old Town. I could see why people were upset over it.

We spent most of the day going in and out of shops and houses which were preserved with the same decor as in that time. When I would go to the Brooklyn Museum I would always love the period room displays and that was just how it was when you would walk into each house.

After we explored The Old Town it was time to head home and along the way my friend and I went for a walk on the beach which was soo beautiful. Now it was time for me to head back to Copenhagen on a 3 hour train ride which I was weirdly excited about. Not excited about leaving Århus because I really enjoyed myself but excited about just looking out the window and seeing the different areas of Denmark flash before my eyes as I travel back to Copenhagen.