Originally, the idea was that it would be an “ordinary” documentary story, a book with contextual images and descriptive texts. That thinking changed over the two years that passed since the photo documentary project “The Citizens” began in fall 2015 until the decision was made in fall 2017 to wrap up the project and publish a book.
Instead of being an ordinary book, it has in some way become something like a photo album from earlier generations. The book has been produced with the main aim of giving it to the people who made the project possible, to all of them who contributed to it with words and worth and who make up the content of the book. A book for these “citizens” themselves.
At best, the images included in the book tell the average man and woman in the street something about the individuals who are shown and their everyday environment, their circumstances and their everyday life. For the “citizens” themselves, these images have a completely different and, for them and me, far more important purpose. For the “citizens” themselves, this book is not primarily a snapshot of substance abuse and homelessness in the area around Medborgarplatsen in the Södermalm area of Stockholm. They are, ultimately, images of friends, enemies and acquaintances, images of individuals they have ties to and relationships with, images of friends who are no longer with them and images of incidents that have occurred. These “citizens” don’t need any additional explanatory texts, they don’t need names for the individuals that are shown, nor page numbers and a summary, which is why this book doesn’t have any of these. This is a book with images that can make you laugh and maybe make you cry, they are individuals and incidents to remember.
It all started as a photo documentary project with a pretty clear goal, but it turned into something completely different during the course of the project. It became a project that was very much about understanding a world so very remote from our own and yet very close to it, and gaining insights into this world. It became a project full of big doses of both happiness and sorrow, grief and joy. The project has finished and the cameras are now turned in another direction, but the friendships, the insights and the understanding that this project has contributed to will live on.
Photography at its best!
The project "The citizens" aims to depict some certain citizens who live in a certain part of the Swedish capital Stockholm. The project aims to make a portray of these people and their everyday life and in addition to that also the fellowship and the friendship that exist between them and has to be there to make their everyday life to work, an everyday life consisting drug addiction and homelessness.
These pictures are black and white for artistic reasons, but it reflects in some sense also the fact that this is much about sadness and pain but also a lot about joy and warmth.