august 2020
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Lødingen – in Black and White!


A beach in Lødingen – pleanty of sand!

I started this group on Facebook. Here you can find black and white pictures of our municipality.

There’s something special about black and white. An example of this are the pictures I received in January. These came from the photo archives of the secondary school I went to (which was demolished last year). Most of them are in black and white. Nevertheless my mind ignores that fact, and I become captivated and drawn into the pictures, finding myself once again in the long lost world of my childhood. I “see” the colours of our school uniforms just as clearly as if the pictures were in colour. Yet had they actually been so, my experience would never have been so strong.

I got the idea for my group from another. That group is called “Doncaster Today in Black and White”. When you work with black and white, you are at the same time more focussed upon the actual objects you are photographing. Ian Barber, who started the English group, speaks about being able to see what he is going to take a picture of through the eyes of the mind – he calls this “previsualisation” (I think we’ll stay with the Norwegian word for this!). What is important about all photography, whether it be colour or black and white is this: that it is not about reality, but a representation or interpretation of it. This is especially true of black and white.

I am fond of Lødingen. I came here first twenty years ago, and never forgot it when I was living elsewhere in our country. I did not become less fond of it when I came back two and a half years ago, but I cannot fail to note all the changes and feel regrets over everything that has been closed down. Now we know that everything is leading towards the abolishment of Lødingen as a municipality, and Lødingen Council will go into history. Black and white is especially suited to the time we are living in. I believe we must document it because it will be the end of what once was an important meeting point and political centre in the North of Norway.

With black and white you are brought into another reality. In another manner than with colour, it is as though the concept of time itself ceases: the boundary between the present and the past becomes unclear or disappears completely. I wrote about this in Yorkshire Viking (my English blog) in an earlier post about the old fort at Nes. This probably explains why the pictures from my school affect me so strongly. The brain ignores there being no colours, and when you look at a black and white picture it sets in what is missing – both the colours and the associations the picture has for you. You therefore find yourself in the picture in a virtual reality. If you take a picture of the guard’s house and the barrier at Nes Fort, you can almost imagine there still is a soldier inside that hut, since past and present go into each other when the picture is in black and white.

enn så lenge

The Municipality Boundary….. for now.

As you can see from the example over, with black and white you can paradoxically use colour (for effect). As we saw earlier photography is not about reality, but about how that is represented or interpreted. Indeed we are playing with reality, and with what we take in and understand of that reality. Take a look at this film (from Schindler’s List) to see a good example of this technique.

I hope our group will be appreciated, and that more and more will use it to document what it is that makes Lødingen our very own little Lødingen! It might be a house, a church or a school. It could be a mountain, a stream or a beach. Regardless of what it is for you, I hope that together we can document the lovely place we live. There you have it – in black and white!