In my ear i hear Nena singing "99 Luftballons" - from a music cassette tape from the mid 80, i recorded from the radio channel here in Stockholm. It took a while longer until Nena became a name here in Sweden, with a delay of 2 years. Not unusual for Sweden at that time in the 80s. So, i remember when Nena became super famous in Germany, 1983 - and then a revival in Sweden, when her music was played starting around 1985. Kind of funny.


99 years of war
left no room for victors
There are no more war ministers
And no jet planes either
Today I go my rounds
I see the world in ruins.
I found a balloon
Think of you and let it fly


Sweden mid 80s

Everything in Sweden back then was... slow, delayed, but also stable and small town-ish; extremely conform would be the best way to describe Stockholm in 1985. The difference in mentality and expression is night and day.

The collective spirit of Stockholm among people that existed back in 1985, does not exist today in 2022. It is literally a totally different mentality. Sure, there are still some traces which remain the same - but everything else has changed completely. For better or worse.


Where are the color slides from the mid 80s ?!

I threw away almost all my 35mm color negatives from the mid 80s, because of a deep despair i had in the basement in Stockholm-Solna in 1988 i remember... feeling that it all just didn't matter; those memories upon which my new life had built on. However, I kept all medium format film negatives - because I felt now that was simply too expensive to throw it all out.

What I don't know, not even today is, what happened to all my slides ? Not that I made so many - but there were a considerable amount of them - and i am not really sure where these have gone. The two images above for example are from color slides - but I do not know where they are - or if they still exist.

One of the perks of memories and countless moving from one place to the next - that they along the road, kind of dissplü(ed), like Yoda used to say. "The planet simply dissaplüüed".

I know that i have some framed slides in a couple of boxes. The kind you use when showing slides projected on a wall. But more then that, I don't know. Albeit wait a minute... I have a big box, in which i think, put many color films slides ? All totally in disorder of course. I think i created that box in order to put all the "lost and found" negatives and slides together in one place. Unsorted and in chaos...

I should check that out one day... *brrrr*


Danne & Kalle

Him to the left, that is Danne. I got to know him through Olle, my boyfriend back in the mid 80s. I don't know what the story was - that they had been together in the past, but Danne was now (1985) together with Kalle. They actually stayed together as long Kalle lived. He died in an apartment fire. Terrible, terrible - and entire Sweden was chocked that one of the most beloved actors in Sweden, had died in such a horrible accident. Danne must have been devastated...

I remember Kalle as being this very calm, and very polite and warm person, very humble in a wonderful way. I never knew him as an actor (I wasn't even aware of it, or only that he was an actor but nothing else. I mean it was 1985/86 - and I wasn't much familiar with Sweden, after I had moved there in Sep 1984 for good.

So, he was just Kalle for me - and we would always talk a bit if we met, for example when i worked as a train conductor at the local Railway "Saltsjöbanan", where he sometimes showed up.


The image below is from 1986

with Kalle being in his kitchen in Södermalm - and it was my first attempt with a (Chinese) medium format camera, Seagull 104-B or something, with Orwo black & white film, producing 6x6 negatives.




Lively Danne

He was (is) a really lively guy, I remember. Very "partner in Crime" type of guy, filled with energy, jokes and funny ideas. I believe he worked within art and acting - or he was always associated with that kind of activity - but I really don't remember the details. Very, very nice guy !!

This only have one roll of film with them - from a time of my earliest photographic adventures - like Bamby on ice - but at the same time I was rather open and enthusiastic. I had to test thing in order to start to understand what works and what doesn't. My understanding of elements like aperture and shutter speed, wasn't the best *LOL*

Apparently i used a simple flash together with the 6x6 camera while taking their portraits. Back then i didn't develop films myself yet.

It feels strange to walk along Memory Lane, and here they - Kalle and Danne, as if alive again. Yet almost 40 years have passed... How is this even possible ?! *grin*



6x6 images from 1986

These images were from 1986, before I moved out from my boyfriends apartment. The relationship was already crumbling heavily and it was just a matter of time. You can tell a heart heavily laden under the weight of conflict and misunderstandings between two people. The adult life, and just being 20 years of age, felt weird. I didn't know what to make out of it... On top in a foreign country - which however, was the choice i made by heart - that I wanted to stay in Sweden, even if the relationship broke.

And so it was. But the rest of the 80s, felt for me very, very heavy and just went worse and worse. It is not a time I remember lightly. It felt like walking down a path of darkness, making the heart more and more heavy... And as strange at it may sound - i was in principle walking down the same path like my mother - who killed herself in the age of 28 in Berlin, in Nov 1975.

But in 1986, I didn't understand those parallels yet. It came to me in June 1991, I understood, at the bottom of life, that my life somehow went the same way like that of my mother. And the thing was - I was not no interested in such a road at all. There was far too much life in me left, or let's say the desire to live. Once I understood what was happening - the roads parted - albeit, "old ghosts" do not give up without a fight - so it took many years, to clean up the psychological mess and pains.

It's like walking though dark tunnel - the end of the 80s, and it continued also in the 90s.


I don't wanna be 20 again. Nor 30 for that matter.

Really, there is absolutely nothing that I would want to exchange. And my looks really didn't help me - but rather made things a lot more difficult, because - well, my inner being, complex, shy yet lively - combined with the good looks, somehow attracted a lot of BS into my life. Also, i believe I was the kind of guy, who rejected power of any sorts. So, while I was aware of my beauty - I didn't use it. And i really didn't. I felt that was like misusing other people. Taking advantage. Things I simply disliked deeply. At the same time I felt like i was floating through life like Bambi on Ice, bobbing around in an ocean, without knowing exactly what my aim or purpose was.

I can not say, I wouldn't want to do things differently in hindsight. Why ? Because my nature, the genuine way of being, as Ralf, was the way it was and still is. I chose not to change in order to what... live a better life ? What does that even mean "A better life". You either live life, or you don't.


What about it - the thing called "good looks" ?

What is it you think you are entitled to with good looks ? What do you think you gain from it - and what does that even mean... How vulnerable is that really, if you built on something like looks - which so easily can suddenly out of the blue, turn "*BAM* and gone.

How do you live a better life if you use your looks in order to "achieve things". Like what ? Does it make you happier ? To get rich ? What's that ? And what does that do with you ? Is it to "get guys" ? Or to get "it" ?

I've never understood the concept of that, perhaps because I've always known, that if I would go that road - it too, is a cumbersome road; a road of make-believe, which over time also induces stress, fear and loss. I knew that my looks are not something to built upon - because you loose it over time. So, why building on a sand castle ? It just felt strange to me.

I think is a treacherous road, which ultimately towards the latter part of life, can truly deceive you in so many ways - and far too easily make you walk roads, ending up towards nothing. If people feel they have advantages because of their looks - and "have more", and "get more" - then there is really nothing, that makes it more attractive for me. The Ralf that was, and the Ralf that is, just didn't feel attracted to such kind of games. I felt it was a false way of living.

I enjoyed my looks even if i had a uneven relationship about my looks, seen form within. What was fun as a photographer, was to use myself as a "model". Because, when ideas come in the middle of the night - you can't call a friend. So, i had myself "at hand" whenever I needed a "model". So, that I loved to do, and was very flexible about it. I mean, i loved to work with other people preferably - but if there was nobody - then i used myself. No problemo. That kind of style.


Ego and Energies

I do know, that my Ego loved the strange energy, which is transfered via beauty / the effect on others... (or better said; people tend to give energy to you "for free", get overwhelmed, or get "into you". That is a lot of energy moving towards you, even if you haven't asked for it. Albeit, this always seem to have an energetic, at times even very high price: what people seemingly give you, often contains hidden demands; their ego craves you - which means sooner or later, they either drop you, when their ego isn't getting what it wants. Then you stand there... like a fool - wondering what their "interest in you" was all about...

Not much, really. I often felt this was extremely confusing - and hurtful. Bambi made a lot of misjudgments, because my ego tried to fill my own voids - with BS; wishful thinking about others. Well, that did go wrong - because it had to. But I didn't understand that.


There is a price to pay...

It's really a "funny game" (not really) those Games of Ego. A sort of psychological Game of Thrones. And people can be co convinced about themselves, that there are sooo into you, and sooo love you. And yet, when something isn't right for them - they drop you. That's when you realize (decades later), that it was a game of Ego, not a road of hearts.

There is a price to pay. Lessons are inevidable; they will confront you, whether you like it or not.
No exception.

Today, people "love" so much. But instead they should say; They desire. Micing it totally up with "they love".

In reality, their interest is shallower than a little pond. Haven't understood it, because they are too occupied by their own ego identification; Taking Ego as their "true" identity - but it is a false mantel. Most of us people do this. Especially today, as the young ones seem to walk around like V.I.P. ego's.

Well, there is a price to pay for everything. Or better said; we all have to face the lessons life and spirit gives us. No excception.


No, I didn't use my looks.

because I deeply disliked those games of manipulation, or trying to acquire something with it - felt just not right, from a space deep within me. I think this has always been a part of my essence in this life. Because playing a game like that, without including the heart....

What could possibly go wrong, huh ?

I was aware of my beauty, because I was highly sensitive, and took in many sides of communication without words - so I sensed these things (even if i many times didn't exactly understand what they meant. Or what the true intention of people where when they approached me.

Never mind.



Today, I love to be an adult

because I can handle knowledge like a natural tool in terms of being able and capable to say "Yes" and "No", with the support of my heart and mind - without feeling such tremendous amount of guilt, which I never understood why that was so dominating for every little nothingness already. Feeling shyness and guilt, for things other people did or wanted... I instead felt guilt all the time, for not reacting or rejecting what they insisted to want (whatever that was). Those kind of things. To be able to say no, and feel both gentle and calm about it. Why was that so difficult ?! (it was easier among very good friends, though, because I felt much more "normal" and relaxed).

It made life extremely difficult for me, trying to set boundaries towards other people. As a young person, it is already hard enough to set boundaries for oneself, while trying to understand the surrounding world and different people, communications etc.


Weird start in life for the first 20 years

It was simply a totally weird start to live life, called "Ralf". I still don't fully understand how to put that in words. Even the Swedish part of my life, was no dance on roses. If I think of Berlin though, that was more or less only darkness and deep pain (most of the time) - strange and difficult to navigate. Maybe also because below 16 I wasn't in charge of my own life, but others ruled over me, for better and worse. So that part, dissipated after I moved to Sweden, of course. Especially since mid 1986 - when I was alone responsible for my life, and for the first time - stood on my own legs entirely. (That's when all the warts on my hands disappeared within 3 weeks).

I remember that I understood exactly the moment and it's meaning: that 1) the warts would disappear for good, and 2) that this was related to that I was now on my own feet for the first time in life.

Oct 1996, it was.


This I would love to do: To travel to the 80s

There is only one thing, which would be fun for me to do: to go back to the times during which these images were taken - just in order to EXPERIENCE the WORLD and PEOPLE in it - but through the eyes of my older self. Like an traveler and observer - I would love to be in my younger Self, and see the world through the eyes of my 56 year old being.

That would be so interesting. Perhaps things would look and feel so dangerous, or insecure or strange. Perhaps I would realize, that things were not as confusing as they felt back then. Perhaps I wouldn't felt like "Bambi on Ice", and instead enjoyed my stay as a 20 year old better, in the past Stockholm during the mid 80s.

Oh, that would be so interesting. Not to mention seeing, experiencing and feeling the other people around... Now, a journey like THAT I would love to do. You know... just to see, how it feels like, and to understand the words, sentences and meanings people (friends) gave off back then.

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