The photograph above was taken in Oslo in 1952. I was nearly three years old. My father found this motive intriguing – maybe because he was a sailor himself during World War II. In retrospect I could possibly say that my preference for men got hold of me at an early start.
I am trained as a professional photographer, graduating from Guildford School of Photography, Surrey, England in 1975. Since then, my professional carreer has spanned from newspaper photography and journalism to administration and activism. In most of my adult life my interests has centred around photography and writing, travelling and gay emancipation. I have been lucky enough to make a living combining all these interests.
Soon after leaving college in England, I followed the popular hippie trail through Turkey and Afghanistan towards India – on five dollars a day. I originally set out with the idea of travelling around the globe in one year. However, the fascination for the Indian subcontinent together with a hard strike of hepatitis made me return home after only reaching Singapore – twelve months later. I returned as soon as I could, basically spending most of the second half of the seventies travelling in and around the Indian subcontinent. I took a special liking to Nepal, and established a friendship with Ramjee, a Nepali, a friendship that has lasted to this very day.
In the early eighties I was elected president of the Society of Fine Art Photographers (FFF), and was also appointed director of the Photographers’ Gallery (Fotogalleriet). In addition to freelance photography and journalism – and exhibiting my photographs – I edited the publication of the national gay and lesbian organisation, a periodical that was discontinued in mid-1990. At the end of the decade a made a long trip to the People’s Republic of China (together with my partner), and revisited Nepal.
During the nineties I took up travelling again, albeit not on the same scale as in the seventies. It was restricted to two or three shorter trips a year. Destination mostly Southeast Asia. I also started the first independent gay and lesbian publication in late 1990, and remained editor and director of the publication (Blikk) until I resigned in 2002. Shortly before I left, the publication secured a major investment from one of the richest men in the country. From the late nineties I was also involved in organising gay pride in Oslo, with EuroPride Oslo 2005 as my last commitment.
The wonder of photography is its inherent ability to be an instrument of intuition and spontaneity. It never ceases to amaze me how photography can catch a moment in time for eternity. The exercise is a great intellectual delight, as well as satisfying to ones nature of curiosity. Just like travelling is a journey without a destination, photography embodies all the stations on your journey through life. With sensitivity, a disciplined mind, and a strong sense of form and light, photography can give meaning to the path towards a happy and fulfilling life.
The marvel of travelling is the sensation of moving. The purpose is not the destination, but the reposition of the physical body as a refreshment to the mind. These pages are basically about my interest in photography and travelling.
"A real adventurer is someone
who travels through the
four disciplines in life:
the mind, the body, the soul and sex!"
Mr. Barba, Former director of Lhasa Holiday Inn