Friday, 7 August 2009

Allemansrätt

In Sweden, our home, we all have the right to walk, cycle, camp, ride and ski on any land. It is what we call "Allemansrätt ". Although it has existed for centuries it was formally introduced into the Swedish constitution in 1994. This includes beaches, forest and water. You are also free to pick wildflowers, berries and mushrooms. We do this from an early age, learning what is and isn't allowed. We camp on beaches, fish in lakes and forage in the forests. We were therefore dismayed as teenagers to be shoo'd from beaches around the mediterranean when travelling.

We find this piece of work by the Dutch photographer Barbara Visser compelling because of the juxaposition she draws about this situation. The 5 prints start with a man lieing on the beach apparently in ecstasy. The wider views show that perhaps he is a drown victim, perhaps an immigrant from North Africa. Then again a tourist is enjoying some early morning sunbathing. So perhaps it is all just a photoshoot, which as course it is, but from a different viewpoint. Perhaps everything is pretend...

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