I look down at the mountains below. I think about the mail, and smile.

I reached my goal.

A couple of days ago I received a mail from Way Up North, saying that they’d love to have me as a presenter for Local Warmup, October 7th in Stockholm. It turns out that it didn’t take me five years to reach my goal. 

Lofoten is heaven to a photographer

But that’s in October. The next couple of days I’m going to stay in Lofoten in Norway.  I go there for mainly five reasons:
  1. To shoot Ellen Marie Bridals wedding collection of tulle skirts.
  2. To network with other photographers from all around Europe.
  3. To maybe, just maybe, find that missing piece for my business.
  4. To spend time with my new friends from Sisters in Law, Zanna and Kicki.
  5. To get to know Cole Roberts (from Wasy Up North) better. 

The roommate

As I exit the small airport, in Leknes, I can see a big Toyota waiting for me right outside the main entrance. I jump in, and sit down in the back seat, next to a photographer from UK – Craig Nicholas. 
It turns out that me and Craig are going to be roommates for this trip. 
Lofoten is stunning, and all the people attaining the workshop are just wonderful. We all drive around to different locations together and take picture after picture after picture.  Everything is amazing, and we all agree that this is the best workshop ever. 

Cole makes everybody nervous

But then Cole Roberts says something that makes everybody a little bit nervous. In the end of the day he wants us to send him our five best pictures from the day – unedited!   Tomorrow we’re going to look at these pictures together and talk about them. 
That’s about every photographer’s nightmare – listening to other photographer’s opinions about their work, and unedited work to make it even worse. 
The next morning I’m talking to Craig in our room, before breakfast, and I say, “Man, yesterday was great. Crazy! But you know what?” “No, what?” “When I sent those pictures to Cole… I felt like yeah, yeah, meh…”  Craig looked at me and said “Exactly!”  I continued, “I should have done better. Hannelore’s work was so much better than mine.”  “Exactly! Exactly like that” Craig replied.

Craig Nichola’s amazing work

Later, in the afternoon, we all get together in a big room, and it’s time to look at the pictures, from the day before. Nerve wracking to say the least.  Cole would bring up pictures on the screen, for everyone to see, and we’d all talk about them as a group.  Looking at my own pictures on the screen I can see that they are great. They are in fact stunning. I have nothing to be ashamed of. But… they are also a little bit insta-repeatish I’d say. And if you don’t know what insta repeat is, please go check it out, and you’ll understand what I mean. The images are great, but they doesn’t necessarily scream Jonas. Then we look at Craig’s work, and this is something else. This is all Craig. These pictures have soul and a life on their own. Craig had seen something that none of the others, nor me, had seen. I was stunned.  But when I look over to Craig he doesn’t seem that happy. Even though we’re all praising his work and telling him how great it is, I can see that he doesn’t  believe it himself. He can’t the the greatness in his own work, due to low self-esteem. 
That moment I just wanted to go over to him, dig deep into his chest, grab that insecurity, and rip it out. 

You are unique

Later that same night I take a walk with Craig. We’re talking and I say to him “Man, your work is amazing. You should be proud of yourself.”
“From the beginning of time, ‘till the end of time, there have never been another human like you, and will never be – think about it.”  
I could feel that Craig was listening to me, so I continued “See, my understanding of self-worth comes from pain: from my father dying too young, from me myself almost dying three times, from going through a depression… Maybe it doesn’t have to be like that for you!?! Maybe you could rise above just by willpower, instead of having to go through all the crises I did, to understand what life is worth. Life is short – embrace that shit, man. Don’t let i go to waste. Go do you!” 

Hard time sleeping

The day comes to an end, but I’m having trouble sleeping. I only slept three hours, before waking up, with some kind of revelation.  One thought kept going round and round in my mind saying “This is the new Fer Juaristi. This is the new Fer Juaristi. This is the new Fer Juarist. Don’t lose this man! Write it down!”  I grab my notebook and start writing, because now I finally understand what I need to do. 
Before this moment, my goal of getting up on stage at Way Up North was something that I wanted. Now it all changed. This was something that I had to do. I had no choice. 
I didn’t just want it anymore, instead I now had to make it happen. Any problem standing in my way became simply obstacles to overcome.  I’m lying there in bed and I think to myself “I need to speak to Cole, but – hold on – it’s in the middle of the night.”  I lay back in the bed and look up. And there it is. 

The hand of God

Craig’s hand pointing to the door!  Almost like saying “Go talk to Cole!” it’s a sign, and I’m about to run out of the room and wake Cole up, but before I have time to do so I realise something else.  That hand almost looks like the hand from a painting of Michelangelo – “Creation of Adam”. I need to recreate that image. 

A naked man with a camera

I get my camera and my tripod, and I don’t even have time to get dressed. I put my camera on the tripod and climb up on my own bed. I find my balance on the edge of the bed and raise the tripod, with the camera attached.  Craig is still asleep. I grab the camera with the wrong hand, and arrange my own hand in the frame, pointing at Crig’s hand. I’m almost ready to take the picture, when Craig wakes up. 
Now, imagine yourself sleeping in a bunk bed in the same room as someone you just met yesterday, and now you wake up, and see a naked man standing, with a camera on a tripod, almost touching your hand, while you’re sleeping… 
That’s a very odd situation!  But I say “Schhhh… go back to sleep Craig, just go back to sleep!”, and he does.  Craig folds his arm over his chest and fall back asleep.  Darn. I still want that picture. So, I gently say, “Craig?”  And he goes, “Mm-hmmph?” “This is gonna sound like the weirdest shit ever, but when you were sleeping your arm was hanging out of the bed. Do you think you could do that again?”  “Yeah? Sure man”, Craig mumbles, and the arm pops out again.  “Craig?”  “Yeah man?”  “Can I turn your hand a little?”  “Go for it dude”, Craig says, and then he’s fast asleep again.  I turn the hand into the right position again, grab the camera with the wrong hand, get my finger in the frame, and snap the picture. 

My purpose becomes clear

I take down the tripod, and I put the camera away. I’m standing there in the middle of the room, feeling the chill breeze from the open window, hearing the seagulls calling each other outside, and realise that the circle is now complete.  The story that started with Fer Juaristi (in Stockholm 2015) ended with Craig (on Lofoten 2019). Suddenly I understood why and what my purpose had been all the time. 
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