The things I saw (Norway)


The things I saw series – my personal snapshots of travels away from home normally come weeks, often months apart. This latest one from Norway comes almost back-to-back with Japan simply because I returned from Japan, stayed home for a day, then went to Norway (more accurately, England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway…). This latest trip was a 6000 road trip to shoot digital landscapes to sell as stock images, but as usual, I took my Olympus Mju2 35mm compact and a few rolls of film. I also packed my Fuji GW690III medium format film camera, but the only time it saw the light of day was for my friend Mark to have a look at it.

I used various film stocks – Kodak Portra 160, Fuji Pro 400H and a roll of 10 year out of date Portra 160VC. All developed at the worlds best lab – UK Film Lab

***Please note that I have started deleting any comments that are obviously deliberately rude or insulting. In other words, don’t troll me***

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17


  1. You get trolled because your work is different, unique actually, people don’t understand it. People who don’t understand either say nothing, or they insult you. Martin Parr, William Eggleston, Stephen Shore, Richard Billingham…the list goes on – all slated, ridiculed and insulted for their work – but look where they are now. And you, Phil, are going to be up there with them, this I honestly believe.

    Don’t change, don’t swerve and never give-in.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. OK, first off the bat – I’m not a troll, I have genuine questions –

    What makes this art? How is a photograph of what appears to be urine in snow art? And if it’s not art, then why bother photographing it?
    A patch of snow on a pavement? It looks like a shot I’d take if my camera went off by accident loading my camera. It’s just nothingness!
    A couple of the obvious landscape crowd-pleasers you always throw in as a safety net I do like, and the window shot. But the rest? They’re just meaningless and banal, in my eyes. I think, to be honest, that you’ve done, or you’re in the process of creating an ‘Emperors new clothes’ situation.

    That’s my cents worth.


    1. Martin Parr’s work was described as ‘perfectly banal’. Williams Egglestone had an scatching article written about him called ‘Emporer’s new clothes’. Is this a coincidence or is your comment ironic?

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Art or any form of creativity is a representation of how the artist sees the world around him/her. It’s their representation of what they see (or feel). It’s all in the eyes of the viewer too.

      If one can’t say something positive or offer constructive criticism, then perhaps one should not comment at all and I think it’s up to the Blogger (in this case Phil Kneen) to decide what he/she would like to share. Just the same, if Phil feels a comment is ‘trolling’ and inappropriate on his web site, then it’s his choice to delete it. It’s his site.

      Personally, I like Phil’s views and ‘memories’ of his travels, or how he sees the world around him. I like snapshots of the small details in life as well as the ‘bigger picture’.

      Colour, tone and composition all play a part in what artists use in their art. I love textures and layers. In sharing the footsteps in the snow image (#13 in the above post), one feels a sense of the icy environment and the chill the photographer encountered in his journey. One sees a pattern of black shapes within the whit(ish) rectangle. Then there is faint diagonal line as the footprints move from the lower left to the upper right. There is a certain balance of white and black within the composition. The photographer has chosen to capture a random collection of footsteps mixed up in the frame (as opposed to a straight line of footprints from one side of the frame to the other). Then there’s the beautiful contrast of the burnt orange/terracotta of 2nd last image of the painted wood. So this post is not just about one image. It’s about a collection of visions of different subjects/landscapes. The collection is also expressing the vastness of the winter landscape in Norway (as much as the sombre atmosphere of the season/landscape).

      In sharing this particular series of Norway, no doubt Phil took some time in arranging the order of the images in this post too. Light and shade. Colour (or lack thereof). The icy chill of a winter landscape alternating with the warmth of the building colours. The harsh reality of the far north and sombre atmosphere of overcast skies.

      “Emperors new clothes’ situation” ? Like I said, it’s all in the eyes of the viewer. Where you might only see a naked man, I see colour and texture. I see beauty or ugliness. I see strength or weakness. I might see form and sensuality. I feel what I see. One person sees a naked man. But a naturist sees only a natural way of appearance. Is a naturist ‘wrong’ in his/her style of appearance? No. No more than a totally clothed person is ‘right’. If the Emperor wishes to parade naked through the streets, so be it.

      Many non-creative people see a subject, but don’t feel or understand what it means. That’s OK. But I think we should celebrate our different way of seeing the world in our artistic endeavours, not criticise what we don’t understand.

      During the day the sun brings us light and warmth, but at night it is invisible to the human eye. But that does not mean there is no sun for those hours of darkness, it just means that we can’t see it for several hours with our naked eye. Can you see the wind? No. You only see the movement of objects under it’s power. You can feel the chill as it changes temperature or the heat as it moves hot air. Some art and creative endeavours are like that. We don’t need to understand why or how, just view and experience the sensation/emotion it brings.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. Hi Charlie, if you read back through 5 years worth of my blog articles, I have never once claimed to be an artist or have ever called my work art. I’m a photographer, I photograph what interests me, as I keep reiterating.
      ‘A couple of the obvious landscape crowd-pleasers you always throw in as a safety net’ – a safety net, do you honestly think I need a safety net? I think all you’ve done is prove a point – not everyone will like all of my photographs, I’d be worried if they did. However, I like all of the images that I post, every single one has a meaning to me.

      I’d like to have a look at your photos, do you have a link please?

      Liked by 2 people

  3. After fully inspecting it, I can confirm it was definitely a Fuji GW690III. Also, Charlie, I resent the ‘Emperors new clothes’ comment slightly, as it implies that people who like Phil’s work lack knowledge about photography whereas you can see through the obvious con. They may be meaningless and banal in your eyes, but that could be more reflective of you, rather than the photographer perhaps? There’s currently a free online course in how to look at photographs being run by MOMA at that you might find interesting and from what you’ve written about “crowd pleasing landscapes”, probably more than a little bit challenging too – it’s definitely worth the time.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Representative of Norway indeed, though the colour tones make it seem a bit more drab than it usually is when there’s snow. Artist’s interpretation of course and to be fair, this winter season was quite crappy in most of Norway, the light conditions were also a bit meh… Best when there’s lots of snow to reflect what little light is available, it’s amazing how much difference snow can make when most of your day is spent in twilight/darkness.
    Just out of curiosity, where were these taken?


  5. Hi Phil, due to a combination of shi**y internet connection down south and the wordpress apps refusal to update I’ve only been getting your updates in batches. But they’ve been worth it. For all the tips of your toes to the ends of the world landscape drivel you see online, the little things matter far more- it’s the difference between “living in a landscape” and apeing 500 pix favourite locations, which cannot be that far removed from stamp collecting. Good policy you’ve started. Must get back to the iom and buy you a pint or two.


  6. Meaningless photographs of meaningless things – what could be more beautiful and full of meaning? I love your work, Phil.


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