The forgotten Giants

Have you ever been on a sculpture
treasure hunt in nature? I hadn’t, and I would never have guess that I, a
well-travelled photographer, would end up feeling like a tourist in my own country.
One August morning, just before the summer holiday ended, I went out
discovering the suburbs of Copenhagen with a friend, chasing wooden, upcycled sculptures
that resembled nature’s forgotten giants.  

Less than thirty minutes
away from the city centre of Copenhagen in Denmark, you can discover a
completely different part of Copenhagen, something you won’t find in your
average ten things to do in Copenhagen
article. With our bags packed with food, water and a notebook, we met up at 10am
at Høje Taastrup train station, and started walking towards the first destination
on our treasure map - the sculpture Friendly
Teddy
.

The different sculptures
were marked out on google maps, and logistically weren’t hard to find. But they
took us places we would never have imagined. By a small swamp, surrounded by
trees, a giant, beautiful statue was sitting, welcoming everyone who stumbled
upon it, with his long, reaching arm. Despite being made entirely out of wood
and nails, his face was filled with charisma. After walking around the
sculpture, admiring the craftsmanship, we sat by the swamp talking, and shortly
after, a small group of locals and tourists came by. They were also hunting the
sculptures of the giants, and before we knew it, we had been standing, talking
for a little over half an hour with them.

We continued our journey,
crossing highways, IKEA stores and big shopping centres, before immersing our
self in nature areas once again, following a creek all the way to the next
giant sculpture. On our walk through the suburbs, we met goats, sheep, various
bird species and highland cows. We ate blackberries off the bushes and enjoyed
our lunch on the top of a hill, sitting on one of the giants – Thomas on the mountain, looking over the
suburban nature. Every local we passed on our way, stopped to talk with us, to
hear what we were doing, walking around with our big backpacks. We quickly
started talking to them about the sculptures. Like a monument, they all felt
proud of the project, and eager to talk more about how it had influenced the
surrounding area and how they now met more people and tourists who were walking
around their neighbourhood, because they were searching for the sculptures.

It felt as though I was
far out in the countryside, not thirty minutes from the city centre. The
sculptures took us all over the suburbs, and after walking over 30 kilometres,
seeing four out of the six sculptures, we hitchhiked and got a lift by a man in
a veteran military car. We ended up camping out in the wild grasslands for the
night, and reached a place to set up the tent just before dusk, still only
thirty minutes from the capital centre. Here we enjoyed the sunset, cooked
dinner and made a small bonfire, while reflecting upon our incredible adventure
in the “backyard” of Copenhagen.

The artist behind this
incredible initiative is Thomas Dambo - a Danish installation- and sculpture
artists, who uses recycled materials to create his art pieces and projects. He
realised how much useful wood was thrown away, and started his career with the
project Happy City Birds, after his
grandma had pointed out that not everybody would acknowledge the value of
graffiti, but everyone could acknowledge the value of a bird house. He has now
made sculptures out of upcycled materials all over the world and continues to
do so. He was asked by the nature foundation of Vestegnen to contribute with
his sculpture to bring people out in the nature areas of the Copenhagen
suburbs, also to change its mistaken reputation as a ghetto area. In this waty,
Thomas agreed to help and the project was established.

Art sculptures has the
power to bring people places they normally wouldn’t have gone. Placing them in
nature, is a great way to bring people out and away from their regular route.
People have a tendency to walk the same path to a place every single time, but
here was an opportunity to bring people out to those places that they normally
wouldn’t go. Thomas Dambo created a treasure map, locating the sculptures, not
only to engage children, but to make people more interested in the project. In
this way, it wasn’t only the giants that would end up being discovered, but
also the surrounding nature.

The sculptures take people
places that they normally wouldn’t ever go. It took me places I wouldn’t ever
have visited. The combination of art, storytelling, beautiful craftsmanship and
social engagement is the result of a unique way of visiting the suburbs of
Copenhagen and a different way of experiencing the country. The sculptures can
be reached either by walking like I did with my friend, or by biking. With more
than 50% of the Danish population using the bike, as their preferred form of
transportation, I recommend increasing the authenticity of the experience, by renting
a bike and start discovering the incredible sculptures of the forgotten giants
yourself. 


Lofoten

I came back home to Copenhagen, after a month of
travels around the Balkans. I had less that ten hours to get home, repack my
backs and sleep, before my next plane was departing for a completely different
adventure. After one month’s warmth, drinks and exploration in eastern Europe,
I was heading north to the cold and barren Norway, where I was going to immerse
myself in the beautiful landscape.

I left Norway in the summer of 2012, after having
studied two years at United World Colleges, getting my IB on an international
school, with people from more than ninety different countries. We lived in a
small town, two hundred students and two hundred citizens, in a beautiful
mountainous landscape. This is when I fell in love with Norway, and when I eventually
had to leave, I knew that I would keep returning to this country many more
times in the future.

A little less than a year ago, a friend of mine
told me about Lofoten. Since then, I couldn’t get the idea of hiking around in
the tip of the country, out of my head. It’d been five years since I had last
been in Norway, and it felt like it was time to go back. It had also been three
years since I had seen one of my best friends from Norway, and suddenly
combining those two reunions, seemed like the perfect idea.  

After skyping and planning, the only possibly time
for making the trip, had turned out to be right after my Balkan trip. At first,
I thought it would be hectic, but it ended up being a greater transition than I
could ever have imagined. Rather than coming home to the Danish summer, which
is nothing to brag about, I went somewhere even colder, so by the time I had to
come home, I would be in a more positive mindset, regarding the weather.

We met up at Bodø airport, with little planned.
All we had was our gear and joy of reuniting. We sat down at a café to plan out
trip, and our next move. We shopped food and necessities, and jumped on the
ferry a couple of hours later. We ended up starting the journey with a bang.
The ferry was filled with retired cruisers, and here we were, two young women
with backpacks. We had a five-hour journey ahead of us, but with a Jacuzzi on
the deck, we felt like being in seventh heaven. 

We docked at the wharf five hours later. Dusk was
upon us, and we quickly had to make our way to a campsite. After getting
directions in a local shop we started walking inland. After an hour, we reached
what we thought was our destination, but there was no campsite to see.
Fortunately, a car stopped and asked if we needed help. Apparently, we had been
led in the wrong direction, but he was kind enough to give us a lift to the
designated campsite.  Before we had said
goodbye and thanks, the rain started pouring, and we quickly needed to set up
the tent. Hungry and exhausted, we made a batch of freeze-dried dinner, and
then passed out to the sound of the rain hitting our tent.

After a well-rested night of sleep, we packed up
the tent and continued our journey down south. We were already amazed by the
nature we were surrounded by, without having any idea what was laying ahead of
us. After hours in a bus, and a boat trip through the breathtaking landscape,
we hiked to camp out on the beach for the night. After an hour, we were
suddenly looking down at this hidden gem. We had reached Bunes beach.

We weren’t alone, and quickly befriended a British
woman, who also had made her way out here. We sat up the camp, and headed
straight for the water, with a bottle of red wine and nibbles. We enjoyed the
beautiful sunset while skinny dipping in the freezing waters. We drank water
off the mountain rocks, cooked dinner, while talking all night, before we once
again passed out, extremely grateful and extremely content.

The next day, we had to get up early to make it to
the bay, for the boat trip back to town. Once we reached the shore, we started
cooking up breakfast porridge, because we thought it would be a while before
the boat came. However, while stirring the porridge, we suddenly had to run to
the dock, with the porridge in one hand, and the backpacks in the other. We
almost missed the boat, which would have resulted in us stranded on the island
until the evening boat would come pick us up. Fortunately, we made it, and
enjoyed the beautiful scenic trip back to Reine, while finishing our oatmeal
porridge on the deck.

Back in Reine, we had a couple of hours to rest,
before we had yet another bus ride back up north to the small town Leknes. Due to
my friend’s infirmities and the pouring rain, we took one night in a small
cabin. When we arrived, we had been getting the grand cabin suite instead,
because the other cabins where full, without having to pay extra. We spend a
night inside a huge warm cabin, each in a king size bed, with TV and pizza.
Where we really there? It felt hard to believe.

We woke up the next day to the sun shining through
the window, and with another good night’s rest, we were ready for yet another
day of adventure. We had breakfast and started biking to the beginning of the
trail. We were going to hike to a mountain top near Kvalvika beach, which we
had heard should be an extraordinary viewpoint. We packed our backs with lunch
and water and started hiking up the mountains, following the muddy trails after
yesterday’s rainfall.

The trial walked us through small lakes and lush
rocks with a dramatic sky daring to give us yet another shower. But the only
rain we felt was our own sweat from walking up the steep trail. After hours of
trekking, we reach the top. We looked over the water, unable to see the seaside
on the other side. The water stretched all the way to Greenland. Below was a
beautiful beach, surrounded by the barren cliffs and mountain. Here we enjoyed
yet other delicious meal, while admiring the spectacular view.

That same evening, we had to make it down south to
yet another town. Moskenes was our last stop, before getting on the last ferry
the next morning. Although Moskenes isn’t necessarily as breathtaking as the
other places, the special thing about ending the trip there, was the possibility
to view all the islands from the coastline. We could visually look back at the
landscape we had been traveling through, seeing the mountain chains ending in
the horizon.

One last time, we sat up our tent, cooked our
freeze-dried food and enjoy an expensive Norwegian beer. We did not speak much
that evening. We felt agitated about leaving, and had witnessed such an
incredible landscape, which robbed us from words. That night, we went to bed,
with our heart feeling a little heavier.

Leaving Lofoten was as hard as saying goodbye to
my friend. That feeling, when you have to leave something you love, and don’t
know when you will have the chance to see it again. The next morning, we quietly
took the ferry back to Bodø, and headed straight to the airport. I was on my memory
bank. 


Save Aleppo

Aleppo has fallen. The world is mute. On Wednesday the 14th of December, more than ten thousands of people joined in front of the Danish Parlament building in Copenhagen and demanded for the immediate protection of the civilian population and displayed their contempt for these atrocities. 


The Golden Circle

Despite the tourism, the Golden Circle is almost inevitable when traveling to Iceland, and there’s a reason for it. Thingvellir, Geysir, Gullfoss as well as the surrounding landscape were astonishing sights. Although the tourism was massive, and took some of the magic out of it, it was still worth the trip. However sometimes you wish these places were less accessible and was surrounded purely by the nature they derived from rather than parking lots and ice cream stores. Nature is for everyone but sometimes it seemed like the majority of the people visiting were mostly interested in proving that they were there with a selfie, rather than truly enjoying the incredible nature. Our journey was coming to an end. We have seen incredible places, challenged ourselves and had two incredible weeks in the the barren, beautiful Icelandic nature. Fortunately there are still plenty of ares on Iceland yet to be discovered in the future.


Southern Iceland

After many days of hiking we started seeing Iceland in a different way, traveling by bus and with smaller day hikes. Despite that, we were still met with incredible sight. From the Idyllic church in Vik, to The lagoon Jokusarlon and the incredible Svartifoss. In between we met great people, watched the Euro Cup match between France & Iceland at a local restaurant, and immersed ourselves in the incredible landscape surrounding us. The south of Iceland truly showed us its beauty. 


Fimmvorduhals hike

We thought we wanted to continue our journey from Thorsmörk to Seljalandsfoss but after hearing about the Fimmvorduhals hike to Skogar we changed our minds. After a days rest in the beautiful sunny Thorsmörk we started our almost 26km long hike. The first part was exhausting, with a 1200m increase before we reached the top. We left behind the lush forest and entered the barren landscape yet again, covered in snow. After a lunch on the top, we continued and the green landscape slowly came back. We befriended sheep and kept seeing beautiful waterfalls as we followed the river down to the biggest of them all; Skogarfoss. However Skogar itself wasn’t an impressive place besides the waterfall that was surrounded by tourists and cars, so we hitchhiked to VIk, found a beautiful campsite and enjoyed a well-deserved beer while remember the beautiful hike. Freeze-dried food has never tasted as good as it did that night. 

To be continued…


Lagarvegur

We started our Icelandic adventure with a well researched hike called Lagarvegur from Landmannalaugar to Thormörk, a total of fifty-five kilometres. After a three hour bus ride from Reykjavik, we started walking from Landmannalaugar and took advantage of the fact that Iceland never gets dark in the summer and started walking around 5.30 pm. We witnessed beautiful colorful mountains and breathtaking rainbows before camping on the highest peak in a barren landscape. 

We woke up to a cold, rainy and windy day but our feet were restless and after hours of relaxing and regaining energy after steep hike, we continued our journey. The landscape kept being barren and we met few people on our journey, but before we knew it, we saw a few cabins by a lake, realized it was our next campsite, and suddenly the weather started clearing up. We took another rest enjoying the tasty freeze-dried food and a cup up red wine. 

We woke up to a beautiful day, and took a couple of hours relaxing and enjoying the great view by the lake. Then we continued our journey, through the barren landscape, crossing rivers with high currents - it really got the adrenaline running, knowing that if you fall, everything would be soaking wet, including the camera. We made it across the rivers and was rewarded later on, with a beautiful, lush spot for camping, near a small river. When we woke up the day after, the sun was shining and we were able to sunbathe while eating breakfast, before heading on the last stretch reaching Thorsmörk. Besides not knowing that we had to cross yet another difficult river and that we got lost at one point, we couldn’t be happier arriving in the lush, green landscape of Thorsmörk. We took a days rest in this astonishing landscape, celebrating that we had finished the hike and then the journey continued.

to be continued… 


La Jolla

A part of the California coast, in San Diego, was a settlement of hundreds of sea lions, who could not care less that dozens of people came, took pictures and swam with them. They were adorable, exciting and fascinating to watch and before we left San Diego, we spent hours admiring these beautiful creatures.


San Diego

San Diego was a combination of beaches, desert and an expensive living style, filled with beautiful flora & fauna and delicious food. 


Solvang

Who would have thought that you could find a danish pearl in southern California. This place started as a settlement of danish immigrant many hundred years ago and has become a tourist attraction, imitating the danish houses, bakery and “æbleskiver*. We founds danish speaking ancestors, miniatures of danish attraction and the famous H.C. Andersen was idolize in this small town.


Death Valley National Park

Desert, extreme heat and an old camper. A night in this place and a drive through was enough adventure for us, fearing that the camper would break down in the middle of the heat. We went from beautiful Zion National Park, to a different kind of beauty with these heated sand dunes and the sound of the wind pushing the sand around in all different kind of directions.


USA On The Road III

Three incredible weeks have past across the USA, and here a a few images from the last part on the road. We finished with a bang in Los Angeles admiring the beautiful fireworks from Disney. The family are returning home and I am continuing the journey to Iceland.

To be continued…


Yosemite National Park

Yosemite has been a destination on my bucket list, ever since I saw the incredible work of the famous Ansel Adams. I finally got the opportunity to immerse myself in the beautiful landscape, and forgot to chase the famous tripod marks. What a place, what a beautiful nature. We went from the heat in the death valley to snow on the mountain tops, with a beautiful blue sky contrasting the big grey mountains. 



Zion National Park

We immersed ourselves in another beautiful landscape as we entered Zion National Park. Here, the animal life was rich, and the red mountains create a breathtaking contrast with the bright blue sky and the green grass. Away from the crowed hikes we met the lovely couple Roy & Joyce, who had been exploring North Americas beautiful landscape from before the impact of tourism, back when the roads weren’t always marked and you could camp pretty much anywhere you wanted. Thirty years later, they are still enjoying the parks, despite the difference from back in 1977. 


Antelope Canyon

From the face of the earth you could never believe that a crack in the canyon could be so astonishing. Had I passed by on my own, I probably wouldn’t even have noticed it. The combination of sunlight and golden rocks created a breathtaking rendering of light, enhancing the tones and lines of the canyon rock. This was a sight, almost impossible to comprehend, and it left me speechless for a while. 


USA On The Road I

All the beauty we passed, was not just found within the national parks. On the road, we passed many beautiful sight, during the many hours of driving from East to West. Desert houses in New Mexico, Route 66, frosty mornings and beautiful birds re-ensured me that the journey is the destination.


Grand Canyon National Park

No photograph cannot ever give this place its justice. It can inspire people to go, but you will never be able to understand how incredible it feels, looking over the never ending Canyon, that’s too large to comprehend. Understanding why this is one of the world’s most amazing natural wonders is truly felt once you are actually there. Despite the tourists, immersing myself in this place, with the breathtaking view, was an experience I will never forget.


Petrified Forest National Park

As we were making our way to the Grand Canyon, we stumbled upon Petrified Forest National Park. We decided to make a trip out of it, and I can’t express enough how happy I am that we did. After days of driving, this was the first natural wonder that we experienced. I was amazed by all the variety of color, not only in the landscape but also hidden in the petrified trees, that resembled huge mineral stones rather than tree blocks. We were unaware that this was just the beginning of incredible natural sights….


New Orleans

After four years in Savannah, I still hadn’t had enough of old historic towns. So you can imagine the excitement as we approach New Orleans, the first big stop on our three weeks road trip across the States of America; From Georgia to California. 

New Orleans lived up to my expectation, and despite the hidden crime danger and tourist traps, I fell in love with the old buildings, the diversity and the jazz music. From colorful houses and carriages to costumes and piano playing ships. This town deliver a great start on our big adventure. 


Escape to the Forest

Imagine a place, secluded in the forest, five minutes off the highway, down south, in Savannah, Brunswick, with no cellphone usage, tree houses, pet-able chickens and cocks, finishing the day with a delicious vegan community dinner, after an emotional circle of grace, followed by a night of bonfire, guitar, singing and memorable conversations. 

Imagine a place, close to a perfectly temperate and clear lake, where clothing is optional, with interesting architectural buildings, night spent sleeping in tree houses, a glasshouse meant for meditation uses, and hot shower in the open air. This whole place is meditation in it self, an energetic recharge, serving as a mental break from the busy everyday life, helping you to clear your mind, while the forest naturally energize you with its power.

This magical place is called Hostel in the Forest. Welcome home. 

Photographed with a Hasselblad 6x5 TMY400


Tin Hau Temples

Typically if you say Hong Kong, people
think of the many skyscrapers. Despite the fact that Hong Kong has the world’s highest
number of skyscrapers, it is considered seventy percent rural. Hong Kong has
more than six hundred different temples. Some of the temples are frequently
visited by tourists due to their locations and attention as landmarks while
other temples are found out in the rural villages of Hong Kong. This body of
work is focusing on the smaller, rural temples which main purpose is directed
towards the locals.

The temples are photographed with a large-format
camera to take advantage of the color richness in the Fujifilm Velvia 50 and to
capture the fine architectural details of the temples. The large-format camera
is likewise used for the purpose of spending more times with the temples, its
devotees and the villages in which they are located. With a digital camera it
is easy to snap a photograph of a building and move on. Using the view camera
forces the photographer to get a greater feeling of the atmosphere of the place
and adds to the effect of getting away and spending time with your own thoughts
and emotions.

The temples serves as a place of worship
for the many devotees of Buddhist, Taoist and local deities. As an outsider without
any significant religious beliefs, these temples functions differently. In the
daily busy and crowded Hong Kong, overwhelmed by the level of noise from the
language, food chomping and traffic, the temples serves as an escape, a place
to gather my thoughts, a place to breathe and think.  The temples are as the peace in the middle of
the chaos. This body of word is my appreciation of their existence, purpose and
beauty. 


Morocco

After visiting my Moroccan friend and exploring the country
together I was already talking about returning to peel of more layers of the
culture behind this beautiful country. With only one week, I barely scratched
the surface of the culture of Morocco.

It all started with the hospitality I felt in the house of
my friend and as I started walking the streets of Morocco, one of the things
that fascinated me the most was the beautiful design. Whether it was the
architecture, the doors or simply the plates, everything looked appealing and
beautiful and I got a feeling that I wish I could take it all with me.

Unfortunately, walking around as a blonde girl, people
perceived me more as money than anything else. It made it difficult to connect
to the strangers on my journey, which is usually how I get to know a place the
quickest. Morocco is therefore a country that takes time to really understand,
coming from outside. As I leave, I know that I will be coming back for longer.
For now, I will look back at this place with a fascination of the beauty and
design, as the taste of mint tea derives from my memory.


Essaouira

Growing up near the sea I spent many hours fishing and sailing with my family. Essaouira was one of my favorite places in Morocco, due to the big influence of the fishing industry and the smell of the sea, when walking through the narrow streets of the medusa. 


Moroccan Facades

In Morocco I was constantly fascinated by the beautiful facades. Many houses look simple because they didn’t want to show off from the outside. However the beautiful doors gave the hint that behind the walls, a beautiful interior was hiding, only allowed to be enjoyed by family and guests. 

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