Copenhagen-based Danish photographer Casper Sejersen’s work is at once alluring and uncomfortable. One image captures a spindly, yellow drumstick disconcertingly like a finger whilst another depicts glistening, globular pearls. It’s a work where objects of emblematic beauty intersect with those of pain – otherwise muted tones are interrupted by marbled bruising and sharp gashes of blood.
Beauty And Pain.
Sejersen’s body of personal work had its debut exhibition in June at Cob Gallery in London where this dichotomy of beauty and pain were at the fore of “One, Two, Three, Four.” Whether it is Sejersen’s interactions with his mother and grandmother or a view of the sunrise in his place of birth many of the exhibited images drew on early childhood memories. Aural sensations are depicted by the other images. The beat of a drum informs the suggestive and rhythmic title of the body of work.
Drums appear to feature heavily; for example, skin is scratched as thought it has been dashed by a drumstick, or a candle flame quivers to a drum beat. A pint glass teaming with pearls, flowers in bloom, and ash covered foam also show that elsewhere objects and textures are central to the body of work. With subjectivity and emotion at the fore the work draws on the central elements of Romanticism. Yet, there is a unique visual language that Sejersen deploys. This distinctive approach runs throughout the Copenhagen-based photographer’s portfolio which he has developed through working across fashion and art.
Words by Elijah (Content Marketer) via British Journal of Photography.
Coloured in vibrant shades of green an artificial ski slope on the roof of the Amager Bakke waste-to-energy plant in Copenhagen has been captured in images by Danish photographer Rasmus Hjortshøj. The centre is to officially open this summer with the artificial ski slope known as “Copenhill” previewed in pictures exclusively by Hjortshøj.
The ski slope covers a power plant in the Danish capital, was designed by BIG in collaboration with SLA Architects, and forms part of what is known as the Copenhill mountain activity centre.
The company had to carry out several test days before the official opening as only around half of the slope was installed initially.
With a 180-degree turn halfway down the piste the 400-metre long slope runs from the top of the 90-metre-high building to its base.
Moving from bright in the centre of the slope to dark at the edges the 10,000-square-metre skiing surface made by Neveplast is coloured in five shades of green.
“The green colours and the design of the ski slope was chosen by BIG – primarily because a white surface would quickly become dirty and hard to keep clean,” SLA Architects said. “Whereas a green surface more easily keeps its colour and at the same time underlines the green and sustainable identity of the rooftop park and the waste incinerator in general.”
A large park has also been designed by SLA Architects to go alongside the ski slope. On the outside of the structure an 85-metre-high climbing wall is to be installed and when the building is completed it will also feature hiking trails and viewpoints.
The rest of the building’s facilities including the lifts, ski-rental shop and cafe are complete according to the operator of the activity centre. The artificial slope will open fully once it has been fully installed and tested.
The waste-to-energy plant itself has been operation since March 2017. It was built to the west of Copenhagen to replace the 40-year-old Amagerforbraending facility and generates power by incinerating waste.
Amager Bakke “Copenhill” artificial ski slope and recreational hiking area is set to open in the summer of this year.
A summer break in Copenhagen is highly recommended if you have never been to Denmark. The sun and heat is enjoyed by all the locals.
As an introduction to the most common places you must visit we’re presenting you with this 3-hour photo walk. If you wish to cover more area more quickly bicycles are a great alternative. Or even a very different perspective can be had from the water if you want to choose a canal tour. Copenhagen is a neat city and you will notice its cleanliness as well as its flat roads which makes it easy to get around, whichever means of transport you choose to take.
Beginning at Frederik’s Church and Amalienborg Palace.
Amalienborg Palace is where Princess Mary lives and is a good place to start your walk. There are no walls or fences, unlike, say, Buckingham Palace in London. You can take photos of the guards and freely walk around the facade of all the buildings. Frederik’s Church is an Evangelical Lutheran Church and is popularly known as The Marble Church due to its Rococo architecture. The Marble Church is easily one of the most impressive churches of the city and with its characteristic copper green dome is an awe inspiring building.
Filled with restaurants and townhouses Nyhavn is a bright historic canal front. You can have the obligatory Danish hotdog at a food stall in this tourist hub. If you are lucky you can catch a nice sunset facing west along the canal. Cities all around the world are now looking at ways to copy the phenomenon of the Danes’s love for cycling and Copenhagen is considered as one of the “world’s most livable cities” and has been voted as the “best city for cyclists.” With over 390 kilometers of designated bike lanes Copenhagen really is a biking haven for the cyclist.
Royal Danish Library – Black Diamond.
An extension of the Royal Library is The Black Diamond which was finished in 1999. The interior from the top floor looking down the escalators looks like a guitar and its exterior show the building having shiny black facets which mirror the sea and the sky at the harbour front.
Inside the atrium is lit up by a large incision that cleaves the building into two formations. The atrium connects the city with the sea outside as well as the old and new library buildings. Weighing approximately one metric ton per meter are large iron girders which hold the glass facade together.
Church of Our Saviour – Vor Frelsers Kirke.
This 17th-century place of worship with a carillon and 400 steps is a baroque edifice with a corkscrew spire. You can get some spectacular views of the city from here on a clear day. This is such an important location and landmark because of all the religions in Denmark the most prominent is Christianity in the form of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. You can find some insight as to how the Danes live on houseboats when you take a stroll along the narrow canals nearby.
Offices such as the Danish Parliament Folketinget, the Supreme Court, and the Ministry of State are all located on the tiny island of Slotsholmen where Christiansborg Palace is situated. Parts of the palace are used by the Royal Family for various functions and events. Foreign ambassadors to Denmark are received by the Queen in the Royal Reception Rooms, including the Tower Room and the Oval Throne Room. The Throne Room gives access to the balcony where the Danish monarchs are proclaimed.
On your walk back from here to Copenhagen Train Station you can also stop at the Town Hall and Tivoli Amusement Park. The park opened on 15 August 1843 and is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world, after Dyrehavsbakken in nearby Klampenborg, also in Denmark.
It’s not everyday one gets to say this, but I do believe I’ve completed my to-do list. In this case it’s a list that involves four musicians, who I always hoped I would one day get to photograph.
Last week saw the rock festival Copenhell return to Denmark. Held at the former shipbuilding yard Refshaleøen in Copenhagen, the event attracts several thousand people dressed in black, who very much enjoy saluting the air with devil horn fingers. I was one of them. Of all the bands playing over the three days, a handful stood out for me. Namely Stone Temple Pilots, Tool, and Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators. STP were surprisingly on top form with their new singer (the band’s original frontman Scott Weiland passed away in 2014) and Tool put on a great performance – their first in Denmark for 12 years.
But it was the Guns n Roses guitarist Slash who really stood out that day. Never before have I been so close to such a talented lead guitarist, especially one with such a prestigious title and well-known background. As I watched the Wizard working his magic, I wondered how long it would take me to become so amazing on the guitar. I calculated never. And so the last name on my list gets a big fat juicy tick next to it, and now I need to move on to something else. Any suggestions? P.S. The list was Eddie Vedder, Noel Gallagher, Liam Gallagher, Slash.
American customs is an absolute bitch. I can’t say I’ve ever had an easy time arriving at JFK Airport in New York, but I foolishly hoped that the third time would be the charm. It wasn’t. But instead of pulling me to one side and asking why “a dude would have hair straighteners in his bag” it was my Danish partner who was taken into a room for interrogation.
“We told him to shave off his beard before we came”
I had no idea why, of course. “She’ll be out shortly, sir,” said the very tired-looking customs official who probably had quotas to fill. But when I got chatting to two British girls who were waiting for their brother, I wasn’t so sure that the word shortly was accurate. “We’ve been here over an hour,” said one of them with a thick Birmingham accent. “We told him to shave off his beard before we came, but he wasn’t having any of it. “ I asked whether they were Muslims. They nodded in the affirmative.
I looked back towards the room where they were all waiting to have their passports scanned and added to some sort of system, and sure enough it was at least half full of men of Middle Eastern descent. It was going to be a long night for many of them, I thought.
But luckily Lia was let loose much sooner than expected, and with no luggage to collect we made our way straight to the taxis. This was where we encountered the first significant difference from the New York City of old. Gone are the petrol-guzzling bulky yellow cabs of the past, replaced instead by smaller, more carbon-friendly vehicles that have lost some of their charm.
Rape, Murder and Corruption
The behaviour of the drivers hadn’t changed a bit, though, as we spent the next 30 minutes racing through late-night traffic with the horn constantly blaring. There was also a TV in the back with 24-hour news streaming across the screen. Our faces – no doubt looking drained from the lack of sleep on the flight – were now bathed in a haunting blue light, as we read about rape, murder and corruption in the city we were so eager to revisit. “Sounds safe,” said Lia.
But the melancholy was lifted as soon as I saw a familiar brightly-lit antenna poking up above the horizon. It was only a fleeting glimpse of the Empire State Building, but already I could feel my pulse quicken and my excitement levels take a serious hit. This was immediately followed by another quick glimpse of a well-known structure, the NYC World Fair Globe, alongside two space-age towers. “We’re in Queens now,” I said proudly. “How do you know that?” asked my inquisitive travelling partner. “Men in Black,” was my response.
Early Mid-Life Crisis
We were getting closer to our Air BnB apartment in the East Village, and this is where the emotions started rolling over me. Things had felt a lot different the last time I was in this part of the world. I was 22, fresh out of a full-time job in the banking industry, and completely alone. I’d experienced some sort of early mid-life crisis and struggling to figure out my place in the grand scheme of things. Up until that point I’d enjoyed a steady wage with regular hours, a decent social life, a sporty little car, and a couple of back-to-back relationships.
Then it all seemed to collapse pretty much overnight. I realised that none of those things were making my life any better, and that I hardly had any cool stories to tell. Sadly none of my friends shared my enthusiasm to travel, and after trying hard for several months to convince them to join me, I simply concluded that the only solution was to go on an expedition all by myself.
I’m not the first to go travelling alone, but I’d never met anyone who had chosen America as their soul-searching destination. Thailand, India or Australia tended to be favourites amongst young backpackers looking for a low-cost adventure for solo travellers. So my decision to travel across the US was met with raised eyebrows on more than once occasion, especially as I’d only booked a one-way ticket. It felt somehow a bit suicidal. What was I hoping to achieve out there?
This is where my photography journey began
I’ve written about this before, and you can read the full story here. But the main thing you NEED to know is that this is where my photography journey really began. I chose America – and New York City in particular – because of its architecture and huge structures. These were the things that I wanted to photograph more than anything else, but trust me when I say that having no one with me was the hardest part. I was having a mental conflict with my confidence on an hourly basis.
Now, 14 years later, things felt much different. I’d travelled to at least three corners of the globe – sometimes alone – and even learnt a new language. I was the owner of a successful photography business in a foreign land, with a family of my own and a level of confidence that comes with all of those things. Driving in to the Big Apple this time around wasn’t at all nerve-wracking, as it had been in 2004, and for that I felt very grateful. Americans like to use the word closure; I have to use it here, I’m afraid.
A massive hole in the ground
So I’ve mentioned architecture, and there was one (or two, to be more precise) buildings that had long captured my attention, but I never got to see in real life: The Twin Towers. I can’t even begin to explain what it was about those structures that made me so fascinated with them, but when I watched them fall I felt an immense feeling of personal loss (amongst other emotions, obviously). All that was left of them in 2004 was a massive hole in the ground, so this time around the new building was high on my list of things to photograph.
Our apartment had a rooftop with great views of the city, so we were treated to a brilliant panorama of the Manhattan skyline at night. It was from here that I first saw the new building, and although I couldn’t stop looking across at it, something about it just didn’t feel right. It was an imposter, I kept thinking. None of my favourite films have World Trade Center One in the background, so how was I supposed to accept it as a legitimate replacement for the Twin Towers?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
This was when it dawned on me, that NYC is just one big film set, and that the buildings represent nostalgia. I don’t feel anything special towards the skyscrapers in Brisbane, or Hanoi, or even Leeds. Why? Because none of them were in Ghostbusters, Die Hard with a Vengeance, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! “Hey, that’s where they filmed Spider-Man!” I shouted more than once during our first afternoon. “And this is the hotel from Home Alone 2!”
So instead of our trip to New York becoming a gritty street photography exposé (which it never was meant to be anyway) it just turned out to be a tour of filmsets and great places to eat. We even bumped in to a couple of celebs along the way, including Ethan Hawke, Gordon Ramsey, and Bobby Cannavale (who?).
To be honest I’ve shot better”
I’ve been staring at my photos from that trip for several weeks now, and to be honest I’ve shot better. But as always the editing process saves the day, and now things have quietened down for the business I have a bit of time to play around and enjoy it.
Wrong bridge, love
But my favourite has to be this one. If you’ve ever crossed Brooklyn Bridge you’ll know that it’s a fucking nightmare to get across. It is swarming with pedestrians – mainly tourists – who stop every few seconds to pose on the metal framework (even though there are signs everywhere warning people not to do it, because there is a very high risk of falling on to the road below).
The reason it is full of pedestrians, is because it is perhaps one of the most famous bridges in the world. Seen by millions around the globe, in adverts, movies, music videos and news bulletins. Apparently not this woman, though. Whilst having a Skype conversation with someone back home in Texas she told them she was currently walking across the Manhattan Bridge. She turned to me and asked if she was correct.
From one island of Denmark to a half island of Denmark (otherwise known as a peninsula); a total of 116 miles, on a train that goes under the sea in a tunnel as well as above the sea on a bridge, we travelled from Copenhagen to Aarhus for this year’s NorthSide Festival.
We arrived at our AirBnB, a plush student digs, with all the specifications that 4 lads from The UK would need to furnish our needs during our stay. It immediately felt like a lads’ holiday. But we were there for the serious business of getting the shot!
One of the perks of the job is that I can write this review whilst casually sipping on a beer; I joked with Matt and had a lot of banter about making our review of the festival in the vein of Gonzo journalism, pioneered by Hunter S. Thompson who was renowned for his wild benders when reporting, but to be fair, I’m still trying to come down from the high of the festival so I’m just chilling with a cold one (it’s 11:30am, by-the-way, but, hey, like Sheryl Crow sings, I like a beer buzz early in the morning).
Racking up a tab
More banter ensued as we arrived to meet our fellow journos – I could say Gonzos but you have to be a Doctor of Journalism to earn that kind of reputation, man. They were waiting for us at the aforementioned apartment, a one-bedroom one-living room with kitchenette area and a bathroom, but you could see from the style of how it was all made up that there’s a reason that Danes are considered to be one of the happiest people in the world. Like I said, it was plush, and more than comfortable for an affordable budget price, even though Matt can claim it back through the business (don’t ask me how that works, “just send me the bill,” I said).
Thursday afternoon was already upon us and we were eager to get our press credentials and enter to feel the place out in terms of what the protocol was for getting into press junket areas. It was a bit different for me since my role was only auxiliary and most definitely glorified, but, alas, here I am to tell the story. The plan was to get in for 2pm so that Matt and his colleague Joe Miller could snap D/TRIOT on the secondary blue stage but we ended up at a checkpoint being confronted by resistance at the security gates. All Matt’s hardwork putting the hours into his Danish lessons over the past year or so came in handy at that point as he was able to negotiate fluently, although, I did hear him drop the word “checkpoint” into what was otherwise all but perfect Danish. The sun was blazing and we didn’t appreciate that until what would come to be much later when we all looked like a spanked lobster. So, after waiting 20 minutes at the security checkpoint for some official or other to finally let us in we were ferried across to the Blue Stage where Matt and Joe entered the junket and myself and Joe’s auxilliary, a burly Scot with a placid charm called Lee, were left to our own devices.
So, naturally, with the sun shining we decided to get a beer and listen to D/TROIT from the site whilst Matt and Joe were in the press junket area (tucked in at the front in between the crowd and the stage). For the first band of the festival they sounded like bog-standard funk n’ soul and the people there were ambling about, buying drinks, or playing Klask (which is supposed to be the national game of Denmark!). We didn’t know what would happen to Matt and his colleague Joe after that but we had a rally point so all was well and we found out after that as soon as they’d had their 3-songs-worth of shots they had gone down to the smaller red stage area to photograph a new up-and-coming band called Findlay, a band that after he had seen them Matt was raving about saying things like: “you know when you’re just really grateful for a band like that to come along? Well, they’re one of those bands.” Must’ve been ’cause they’re from my birthplace Stockport, England. What a Viaduct! Next up was a personal favourite of mine – Warpaint. I’d seen them before in Portugal and their sound is perfect for the big stage setting, but the other lads, now re-united as a foursome, said they sounded a bit too dreamy for their tastes so unfortunately for me I was dragged away before they could finish their set as we headed back to the apartment for Spag. Bol..
Thursday night festivities
After some good food and a few beers back at the apartment we found ourselves back on site in time for Future Islands, who I’d heard about when I was doing my MA back in 2015. I recommended to the others that we see them because they had such an unusual style owing to their frontman who would dance in a captivating way or suddenly growl down the microphone at the audience over parts of songs that should hold a melody. Tell me you haven’t seen a frontman behave like that before! However, they were merely OK, but that owed to the fact that we were several beers deep and we were quite far away from the front this time and if I hadn’t have been familiar with them already they could have sounded like just another band. Matt thought that the growling thing was a bit funny, though! Immediately after seeing that band with us, Matt and his colleague went to the press area – a relaxing and comfortable area where you could get free refreshments if you had your press pass like we did – and were told to follow the junket leader around to make preparations to follow Bjork. Little did they know that when they got there that Bjork’s manager insisted that no photographs were to be taken and so Matt and Joe were censored. I was in the front rows with Joe’s assistant Lee for the Bjork set and looking back on the whole experience of NorthSide Festival she was clearly the best act and easily my favourite – that distinctive vocal was offset by the deepest of bass grooves, a concerto of flute players joining in for one particular song which sounded magical and her outfit was just surreal!– she was wearing a very flattering red dress and had this peculiar red face mask on complete with a black-feathered headdress.
The War On Drugs were to be Matt’s last assignment of that day and they took to the stage 11:15pm and played an hour and a half set – by this point, I was definitely trying to compete with Hunter S. Thompson in terms of how much I thought it was appropriate to drink, promptly got lost for about half-an-hour before being rescued and we went home after that, leaving Joe and Lee to see out their night having a boogie to The Internet in the smaller red stage area.
The morning after the night before
Next morning came and it was Friday. I’d completely crashed out the night before and was feeling sad that my advances towards a plethora of women had been unrequited so I made the resolve not to drink that day and help Matt out as much as possible. Rival Sons and Aurora were the first two assignments that he tackled but it wasn’t until we saw N.E.R.D that the crowd began to seriously move! Of course, there he was down in the press junket area for the allotted 3 songs-worth while Pharrell Williams got the crowd going with his entourage like nothing I’ve seen before in my time as a festival goer. Arms were swaying from side-to-side, people were crowd-surfing, and whole swathes of people were crouching on demand only to jump back up and pogo when the beat kicked in again. I departed from the N.E.R.D set a bit early to go and take up a place in what would be the Liam Gallagher crowd awaiting his appearance with anticipation. It was a good job I did, too, because although the crowd was sparse to begin with by the time Liam Gallagher came out they were throngs farther back than the eye could see. He began his set with the lead track from Oasis’ debut, Rock N’ Roll Star, to which he introduced it: “there’s not many of these around today,” before resuming his usual arrogant swagger as if to embody the title of the song. Its epitome! A lot of what he said in between songs could have been seen as rude and arrogant but the crowd lapped it up and the more the set went on the more you realized that he was living off the back of the reputation of Oasis and the set promptly became a hit-parade of the Oasis back-catalogue, which was to be expected, naturally. I stayed until the end of the set to which I’d sang along in parts and found that I’d really enjoyed it. But, just check out Matt’s masterful photography!
After it was over I made my way to see A Perfect Circle because I am a massive Tool fan I have a lot of respect for their singer, Maynard James Keenan, who has a great vocal range, but I found myself a lot less inspired by the APC set and left to retreat to the press area for some much needed relaxation and found the guys there gathered talking about the photos they had taken. It was at this point that Matt had published an interview with his colleague Joe about what being an exclusive photographer at this type of festival meant to him, and Matt said to me: “this is our festival.” And that was it; the exclusivity of it, the prestige of having access to the artists, mingling with all the other journalists. It made you feel important, and if it wasn’t for people like Matt, making sure the world can see these stars they simply wouldn’t have the recognition that they have today, so we owned it.
Headliners … Over, Under, and Out
We took a break in the gap between what would be Queens Of The Stone Age headlining that Friday night. The National could be heard grooving along on the breeze in the background as we ate some Danish fish n’ chips, better than traditional English fish n’ chips in my opinion but I don’t think I was convincing Matt about that. Since QOTSA frontman, Josh Homme, had gotten into trouble recently for kicking a photographer in the face from on stage there was tighter press-controls for their headline set and only a select number of photographers were given a specific wristband for that show. Matt was on the list, a fact that added to his prestige. They headlined the Friday night at 11:15pm and played and hour and a half set; they were tight, the guitars sounded good, and the vocals were excellent. At one point, the drummer broke out into a drum solo and ended it with a rimshock on the snare drum that was so hard it blew out the left-hand speaker box and killed the visuals on the televisual displays. The set raged on but it wasn’t until after ten minutes of technical difficulties that the sound on our side of the stage came back to life, to a great cheer from the crowd. QOTSA could still be heard playing as we left that night and arrived back at the apartment where we had a nightcap and reminisced. Joe and Lee were to stay on extra for the final day, but, for Matt and I it was over and under the sea and back to Copenhagen, sunburnt and satisfied!