I would like to thank all those out there who support my work. I have had people from all corners of the world write me. Primarily to raise their appreciation for the novel Twenty Two Years To Life. If you have not read it, it is a fictional novel, based on a true story from the last conflict in 2014. It is a story of love and war and what we do when we are bereft of all hope. Some people also ask me to tell a bit about my story. Admittedly, I am terrible at writing my biography. My life has been immersed in circles of change. Which changes do I include in a biography? Change is life so in a way a biography has to be dynamic, although a glance into the past is usually what we can practically get away with.
In mid-May 2002, I went into an Indonesian cyber-café in Banda Aceh and bought the domain www.mindzoom.dk. Six months earlier the name had come to me as I was driving down a main road in Copenhagen, Denmark. The wide use of the Internet as we know it today was still at a relatively infant stage. I bought this name because I wanted to share my photography, poetry and bit of writing with the world. I had entered a path of journalism and photography and it was a perfect platform on which to display my work.
However, the allure of virtual reality did not and has not ever taken over my love for actual reality. I was far too busy exploring to have time to update the website, write code or take care of all the things necessary to build an online presence. What I had instead was patience. Passion to do what I loved doing and not for the sake of ambition or recognition but because I loved it. This drive if you like, fuelled by somewhat alternative ideas (I am trying to be carefully diplomatic here), took me on my journey around the world. If you had asked me ten years ago whether I saw myself living in Perth, Australia, I would have said: ”I have never thought of that happening!” Why would I? But here I am.
Life is indeed change. Everything is constantly changing. Nothing stays the same. Not even our thoughts. To be able to change our thoughts gets harder the older we get, but change it does. Big changes happen when we set our mind to it so to speak, even changes that revolve around our way of thinking.
When I began the website back in 2002, the idea of zooming in on my mind seemed appealing because at that time, the awakening of understanding appears to be continuous. Until we discover that we become older, wiser, grow up and mature into individuals who are wanting to see change. And unconsciously I believe that is the place where we accept change as being life itself.
Mindzoom.dk became a display of images. I would have loved to upload more but the enjoyment of taking the images far outweighed the enjoyment of sharing them with the world. I still did though, as much as time allowed me to. There were images from encounters, professional work and abstracts that I enjoyed. And a lot more. The website also became a showcase of thoughts and poetry and short pieces of writing. As I understood more of the world, and became better at the languages I speak, I could share my story in a better way.
At the end of September 2015 I began livinginthestrange.com. This coincided with my decision to write the stories I saw working in conflict and development zones around the world as fiction. I had had enough of watching stories being forgotten, had had enough of watching the people in them being treated as numbers. I began working as photographer and a journalist (now the fancy word is a photojournalist) because I wanted to make a difference but what I found was that I was treading water.
Living In The Strange is an Egyptian saying. Its short explanation is being in exile because what is not Egypt, is the strange.
In this time I have published four books, two of them part of the series to my son Zaki. The other two books are novels from Gaza, Palestine. I also work more on creating stories that links images with stories. Still in the hope to give light and voice to those, the mainstream media does not find worthwhile reporting about.
The time has come for Mindzoom.dk to end. The website takes its last click on the 30th of November 2017. I no longer live in Denmark. The name that came to me on that dark and rainy autumn day carries a different meaning now.
In the next few months I will change livinginthestrange.com. It will include the option to purchase my work as many of you have been asking for that. It will also be easier for me to update and easier for you to share its content. I love what I do in this life. I love photography, I love writing, and I hope that you will keep supporting me so I can keep doing what I do. Without people purchasing my writing, my photographs, it would not be possible.
I Took Something, Forgive Me
I’m in Jakarta and a young woman walks through the isle, handing out torn over envelopes. She keeps her head down, doesn’t say a word. She waits a while next to driver, hangs out the front door, her hair waving as the bus speeds through the polluted streets and stops with jerking movement for each batch of passengers embarking or disembarking.
The young woman returns through the isle, she collects all the half envelopes again. Some are left on the seat with a coin in them, some are handed back with a note. And some are just handed back empty.
I didn’t ask, I just took it, this picture. It’s one of my favourite pictures, it reminds me what I should never do.
I Took Something, Forgive Me.