I live in the north part of Sweden. A fairly small town named Umeå situated about 640 km from the capital. It’s vivid and young. A university town with a lot of self-confidence and a sympathetic atmosphere. I enjoy my life here. I find inspiration to my projects. But every year around November to February, I keep asking myself: Why did I choose to return to this place? Why on earth does anyone want to live here at all?

I have always related to Lars Tunbjörk’s book Vinter (Steidl 2007).  Something weird happens when winter is coming. It’s like it tears people apart. We change. Become shyer, more barren. It’s like we forget to look into each other’s eyes. Every one hurries to cuddle up indoors. The darkest time we are lucky to get any sunshine at all, the three to four hours there is daylight.

In the book there are so many examples of people holding on to things. Like they need to grasp something real not to fall or loose themselves completely. Literally, they hold on to: stair rails, wheels, cats and dogs, alcohol, ideas of beauty or strength, even each other’s butts on dance floors. The images are funny, tragicomical. But there is one desperate image, free from humor that catches me every time. That of a woman in a bare and impersonal room that strikes me as a hospital prayer room. For me this is an image that so painfully describes when there, for some unspoken reason, is nothing left to hold on to. When all the efforts we make to maintain a sense of meaning are senseless. When we no longer can rely on the things or people around us – we give up and turn to the higher powers.

Elin Berge


Tunbjork Winter

From the book Vinter by Lars Tunbjörk (Steidl 2007)

Remembering Lars Tunbjörk Part 1