“Photography is a language – and I had to use it.” Mitch Epstein
In conclusion, I would like to say, that my observations of Swedish leisure activities brought me a great understanding of this culture. With this study I understood that the behaviour of Swedish people is formed by various norms, which can account for their social interactions in public places. Social norms are essential in understanding human behaviour. A norm is described as an unwritten rule on how society must behave, and what the majority of people believe about others and how they should act in a particular social group or culture.
While working with this documentary project I´ve found a new approach to the photographic subject, which is more personal, sensitive and intimate. I employed various methods to reveal and emphasize the emotions of the scene depicted. I think I managed to render visually obvious the relationships between people and their neighbours, their belongings and their surroundings, providing evidence of a moment in time. My objective was to express it simply and without confusion.
I believe that the success of a documentary image is often a reflection of the documentary photographer’s working method. Spending time and working closely with my subjects helped me to produce emotive and evocative images, which in essence is the aim of documentary photography. These are the images that give the most intimate view into the lives of the people or situation captured.
Documentary photographers are very much reliant on their subject matter to produce an effective image, but this is not the only ingredient. I believe that well-executed aesthetics can enhance the level of communication projected by an image. The right composition, lighting, color, etc. helps transmit the information needed to make the photo more powerful. In this body of work I was, at times, more concerned with the content than the strength of the image as a piece of art. But the longer time I spent with the subjects the best compositions were conveyed.
Mainly documentary photographs draw meaning, like all cultural objects, from their context. Many of the images can seem boring when viewed on their own, but they reach their meaning through their viewing as a collection and through the context within them. Pictures can convey their meaning also from what has been written about them, either as a caption or introductory text. Some photographers choose to show their photos without any added text, encouraging viewers to use their intelligence and personal experiences, to comprehend the information presented, and to provide the context by themselves. While I was working with my book on this project I decided to add text, because I believe it gives more understanding about this social anthropological study. To enrich the project I added short captions, where I described the actual happening and place of the happening.
In conclusion, I want to point out that during this project I have been lucky to meet interesting people in various places. I have photographed relaxing vacationers at their camping places and garden houses, swimming pool visitors, students on their graduation day, teenagers in a waiting room at the bus station. I have attended most of the favourite Swedish traditional celebrations: the midsummer party, various old car shows, folk festivals, Walpurgis Night and highly visited flea markets. I enjoyed meeting such individuals as plane and bird watchers, line dancers, skiers, dog owners and many more. I have had very interesting encounters with all the subjects I have photographed.