meeting photographer Niklas Korte

 Photo © Mr Urbano

It is a chilly, cloudy morning. Late October. I am on a train heading for the unknown - leaving Stockholm for the countryside. It doesn't happen too often these days. A brief moment I feel like Woody Allen leaving New York. It's nonsense of course - I was born in the countryside and I have seen such exotic places in my country like Jokkmokk, Virserum and Vamlingbo.

But what about the dog?. It looks real scary and wild in the picture taken by photographer Niklas Korte. And Niklas told me in an email that he wants us to take a walk in the woods with the dog. On the other hand I know that there are four cats waiting for me - it can't be that bad. I am a catman.

The journey is just under two hours, but it is a changing landscape outside the train window. I am entering Bergslagen an area famous from it's history of iron making.

When the train stops in Ramnäs the clouds are swept away and the sun shines through. It is not far away now from my destination Virsbo where Niklas was born and raised.
Niklas Korte
photo © Mr Urbano

Photo © Niklas Korte

Listening to P1
Photo © Mr Urbano

I could tell you a lot about my visit to Bondfallet, it was unforgettable - but allow me to focus on presenting to you some of Niklas Korte's work. Anyway, I just have to share with you what the goose, the rooster, the hens and the sheep are listening to. Listen to P1.

Niklas tells me that there are bears and wolves in the forest surrounding his house and a lynx has been spotted not long ago. However, the radio channel is there to scare away the fox. It's always the fox... the sly fox. But the hens are quite smart after listening to P1 and the fox supposedly confused.

Photo © Niklas Korte

Photo © Niklas Korte

Niklas shows me his darkroom, not in use lately. He has turned digital. There is a box with photos from an exhibition called "Raggare". I am very impressed by the prints  that Niklas has made - telling me about his great knowledge of traditional photographic processing.

I find that he's got quite an impressive collection of photobooks and vintage cameras as well. Niklas shows me a book by French photographer Klavdij Sluban and another one by the Danish photographer Jacob Aue Sobol. They are two photographers that he finds inspiring right now. I know he likes Daido Moriyama too,

 From the project "Raggare" by © Niklas Korte

I like the pictures from the project "Raggare". Niklas says; " Getting the photograph and to ride with these guys in their big cars was a great experience. Listening to rock and roll, drinking beer and meeting wonderful people. They had a quite tough image but their warmth and fellowship was genuine."

The project "Raggare" has been going on for periods between 1998 and 2009, most of the photos were taken in 2007. Niklas assures me that if he gets the opportunity to ride with them again he will grab his camera and a box of beer and hit the road.

 From "My 2009" by Niklas Korte

During all of the year 2009, Niklas challenged himself to capture a photo each day. He explains; "The project My 2009 was about selecting one picture that was to represent each particular day. I started the project because I wanted to push myself and in a way it forced me to become more creative, to think outside the box and to observe those little things in life that are hard to distinguish when you are not enough focused. 

Some days I had major problems to pick just one picture, as many of the pictures were good. When I was not on top, I had only shitty pictures to select from."

I am probably not qualified to write down something really clever about the great photography of Niklas Korte. But there is one thing that I keep coming back to...Niklas is not "going out to photograph". He finds the pictures right where he is, in the forever changing moods and events of everyday life. His photography is completely integrated with his life and who he is - this is a treasure, I think.

Meeting Niklas once more after my trip to Bergslagen was very nice. I got the chance to show him and his son a part of Stockholm. 

Mr Urbano and Sally
Photo © Niklas Korte

So what about the angry dog? Her name is Sally (after Sally Mann) and she is probably the most loveable dog on this planet - friendly, intelligent and with a free mind. Catman Mr Urbano found no way to resist the charm of this remarkable dog. But didn't she look quite scary in that first photo? You know something..she was actually (listen to this) s m i l i n g.


Simon Johansson said…
Great work! Interesting. Korte is a fine photographer. I really like the series "Raggare".
Jurek Holzer said…
A great meeting, too.
Anonymous said…
Ja, precis så är det. Du har gjort ett fint reportage om Niklas, mr U.
br said…
very much enjoyed reading about your meeting and seeing the photos. great!!
Mikael said…
A treat for mind and soul, well performed reportage and great visual with the fine images
Rae Merrill said…
looks like a great roadie experience. a very free and unregulated culture. must have been a great experience. well done.