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The Story Behind That Picture IX
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The Story Behind That Picture: "Summer"

By: Thorsten Overgaard [In Danish]

That summer is of the past. That’s what I think when I see this picture which I took of my daughter Robin last year. And the reason I think like that is probably that I just read a blog called My Turn This Year made by a fellow Leica-photographer in Great Britain. The blog is about that he just found out he has cancer. Now, it’s a type of cancer that leaves you 10-15 years to live in, so it’s more the type of disaster where you have time to consider the consequences.

At the same time I’m reading a book by the Japanese writer Haruki Murakami that I find very entertaining and inspiring. It’s a biography about writing and running, which are two things I do myself as well. He started running at the age of 30 and does a marathon a year. He’s 59 years old now, so that gives you an idea. He runs approximately 10 kilometers a day.

But he writes about how his body is getting older and how he has to fight harder today than with a younger body; both when wearing his running shoes as well as in front of the typewriter. Yet he considers himself lucky to experience becoming older.

Now, we don’t have much choice, do we!

So last night when I was selecting photos for a catalogue and I stumbled over this photo of my daughter, it hit me just how much life force there are in those eyes. There is something defiant about it, and she’s aware to an almost frightening degree. She’s studying and learning stuff, while all she is really doing is just playing in the memorial park and having an ice cream.

In the same park as we walked about, there’s a memorial for those 4,100 Danes from Southern Denmark who died in World War I. That area of Denmark was occupied by Germany back then, and those soldiers were sent to war on behalf of the Germans. What an odd and unjust way to die in fight! It’s not something I think about, as it was another time, and I only know about it because I came across the reason for that memorial in doing an article some weeks ago.

But I think what all this have in common, and the reason I’m mentioning it, is that it’s good to think about how you use your time. This summer will not come again, and even the next one might eventually be even better, enjoy this one. Enjoy the age your body has right now, the fantastic pesto you found this summer in a store, the sweet looking blond girl in the deli who might not be there next summer, that this is your last year driving that old car (or perhaps the first year you’re driving the new one), or that your DeWelt screwdriver is brand new and has never been used before this year. There is so many things that happen right now and which are unique because they are in fact happening now, whereas later you will only be able to remember them. But right now you can experience it – “live.”

The summer is a good time for trying to enjoy things in life because everything is a bit casual and we don’t have to worry about wearing layers of clothing. The rest of the year we have to dress sensible (at least here in Denmark) and work on improving our career, our undying fame and those great goals we have set for our life.

We live in the present time and that’s a fact that can be hard to realize. But we should try.

Here is a picture from the same trip, in colors.

Technically my daughter and I just took a walk and I was wearing a camera and also had a 60 cm gold reflector which can be used to reflect the light so that you can for example make a face lighter (that would else be in shadow). As you can see, the sun is from behind, but there is great light on the face.


- Thorsten Overgaard

    June 16, 2009
My youngest daughter Robin Isabella photographed in the summer of 2008. Photographed with Leica R8/DMR and Leica 80mm Summilux-R f/1.4

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Thorsten Overgaard
Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish-American multiple award-winning photographer, known for his writings about photography and Leica cameras. He travels to more than 25 countries a year, photographing and teaching workshops to photographers. Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or online. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via email.

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