Chapter 1, Task 1
In Progress

Task 22 – Try something new

Task 22

Try something new

The Camera Cure Task 22
I never complain about people not picking up all of the details in the informational letters that I send out because I am just as bad as doing that myself. And since I had not gone over all the information properly for Connie Imboden’s workshop, the nude models came as a surprise. I would not have gone to it if I had known that the focus of it would be on photography with nude models because I had planned on doing self-portraits in this vein for my own project. Thus, I found myself in an unfamiliar situation – with a camera, a naked woman and a stack of bales of hay. Fortunately, the model was more professional than I was. I discovered how I more easily got into a flow through taking many pictures and learned a lot about how photos get better when I don’t think so much and just followed my intuition. The good pictures are most often found outside of our comfort zone.
Inderøy, Norway, 2016. Photo: Torkil Færø


Stuck in routines

I stood at the quay in Kristiansand. My bags were packed and I went on board the sailing ship Sørlandet. My obligatory schooling was behind me and the school of life lay ahead. A feeling of euphoria rushed through my system. I knew that I would never experience routine every- day life again. That’s why I have never had a fixed job. By alternating between being a sailor, teacher, doctor, documentary filmmaker, photographer and workshop instructor I have chan- ged my position and vantage point continuously. In this way I discover more of the world and of myself. I was probably inspired by Thor Heyerdahl who knew that it was possible to live a life where an openness towards new experiences was routine – to write books, go on expeditions, make films and explore the world.

The great pleasure for me in working as an emergency room doctor is that it is never falls into a routine. Even after a hundred thousand consultations where I have met fifty thousand different people at my doctor’s office and during visits, every day still offers surprises. Prob- lems arise daily that I have never encountered before.

When I sail, the days aren’t alike either. The wind and the waves change. Each port is dif- ferent. Things that I did not know even existed fall apart and have to be repaired. In photo- graphy the circumstances are never the same. We never know what the camera will capture on any one day.

What happens when tomorrow looks a lot like today and yesterday, is that the days just pile on top of each other in the mind. That is why so many people wonder where the days went by. They simply passed almost unregistered by the brain. The reason is that the brain works hard to save storing space and attention, mostly searching for what is new and different, much similar to the way videos on the YouTube save space by only changing what is different from one frame to the next.

At my office I see how people who do just about exactly the same things day in and out suffer from depression and being frustrated. There are certainly some people who thrive with this but most of the time they seem dissatisfied. I would also be depressed if I had lost my curiosity for new experiences.

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It is the nature of photography to be open to new experiences. The camera is a ‘curiosity machine’. Curiosity is one of our learning instincts. The people who are the most curious, learn and experience the most, and for many of them photography feeds their curiosity. It is a healthy cycle.

I think everyone is born curious, but along the way many people lose the ability to wonder and be bewildered. As the poet Kolbein Falkeid wrote, “Habit clouds the eye.” “Have you washed your eyes today?” asked the photographer Tom Martinsen. We need both to see the usual with new eyes and discover the unusual.

The camera is an instrument for exploration. It encourages us, in a natural way, to check what is around the next corner, something unexpected and new. Even photographers who stick to the same subject matter see a development in their pictures. It is almost impossible to stand still as a photographer. The camera drives you forward inexorably. It’s just a matter of hanging on.


Discover a place you have never been before, and never would have thought you would visit. If you have never been to a knitting shop, go to one. Or what about a local car repair

shop? Feel free to photograph in an unusual way. What about taking pictures from a distance of three inches? What about going down on the ground or up on the roof? Do whatever you want, just don’t do something you have done before.

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BOOK SUGGESTION: Curious by Ian Leslie

❞ “Wisdom begins in wonder.”


We can let fear rule our lives or we can become childlike with curiosity, pushing our boundaries, leaping out of our comfort zones, and accepting what life puts before us.

John Doe

It is our knowledge – the things we are sure of – that makes the world go wrong and keeps us from seeing and learning.

Lincoln Steffens