Tag Archives: into the wild

Leonard Knight of Salvation Mountain

"I really love it here. I think the freedom of this place is just so beautiful.
To me, I wouldn’t move for $10 million, unless I had to.
So I’m contented here in the desert, and I’m living where I want to live.
And I think good gets better.
And I think those great big tanks there were the sewer plant for the Marine base in World War II"

Some may recognize the words of Leonard Knight from the movie Into The Wild where Chris and Tracy take a walk to Salvation Mountain and meet him. In March I had the pleasure of taking my own walk to Salvation Mountain and meet the legend.

Salvation Mountain -blog

Leonard Knight

Leonard Knight is a joy and an inspiration, just as passionate and quirky in real life as on screen. I spoke with him for a while and his passion for his Salvation Mountain and for his God are very infectious. His work, life, passion and mission is a never ending process of creating Salvation Mountain as a tribute to his God. It’s really just a lot of paint on a mountain built of everything from clay to car doors and telephone poles but his dedication and passion lifts it to something special.

It was a slow hot day with few visitors, Leonard tells of days with hundreds of people. The desert sun was scorching, the clouds were spectacular and the wind a warm companion. The air tasted hot and dusty as I ate my lunch sandwich sitting on top of Salvation. Leonard then took me on a tour and gave me a handful of postcards telling me to "spread the love in Denmark, tell people about my work, about love and my mountain". He is a weathered old desert dweller who has seen his fair share of the desert sun. Here’s my portrait of Leonard and part of his desert home.

Leonard Knight - blog

Leonards Home - blog

Slab City

Salvation mountain resides at Slab City, also of Into The Wild fame. Slab City is just a bunch of caravans out in the desert on concrete slabs, leftovers from a Marine base. There is not much to it but I can see what Leonard mean by stating"the freedom of this place is so beautiful". I was there on a Thursday and wish I had stayed for the Friday outdoor concert as seen in the movie. With a little more guts for shooting people I would have liked to do portraits of the characters living here. Instead, some awesome clouds offered the chance of a wide Slab City panorama:

Slab City pano - blog

Into The Wild

into_the_wild_movie_poster I tend to get somewhat obsessive about my…obsessions one could say. I have over the past two years watched the beautiful movie Into The Wild twenty times, read the moving book ten times and listened to the great Eddie Vedder and Michael Brook soundtracks a million times over. Christopher McCandless’ quest, passion and great adventure somewhat mirrors mine and my feelings, and he completely changed my life post-mortem.

Chris, his story, the book, the movie, the soundtrack still means very much to me and there is great strength, comfort and inspiration for me in passionate people like Chris and Leonard. Attempting to slightly moderate my spectacularism (Douglas Coupland’s word for loving extreme situations) I am now attempting to create and live my nomad story, not a copy of the Alexander Supertramp story.  Still, I had to visit Slab City and Salvation Mountain when I passed by the Salton Sea back in March. Some elements and arcs of a story came together for me and it was special for me, somewhat moving to be standing there. As if several versions of me caught up and merged into one.

– ∞ –

Tech: All images including the portrait shot using my Canon 17-40mm L lens, it does actually work as a portrait lens in a pinch and my copy is razor sharp (except for the corners of course). The panorama is stitched. All images have received my ‘harsh desert’ Photoshop process but they needed very little, the conditions here are already very harsh desert!

Reflections of a Nomad Photographer Part I

nomad-edge-flemming-blog In November 2009 having sold my flat and most of my belongings I left Copenhagen and embarked on my present great journey as a Nomad Photographer. No home, no base, no strings, complete freedom. After six months, three continents, five countries, thousands of images and having been around the world I returned to Copenhagen for a Summer break. “I need sleep” was one of my first sentences.

I felt jetlagged for 4 weeks as I attempted to re-charge and archive thousands of experiences, images, people and emotions inside my messy head. I am now able to reflect on the first chapter of my life as a nomad photographer. If you are not familiar with the beginning of this tale I suggest reading my Dreams become reality post and perhaps my profile. To make sense, my reflections are intimate but of course I have chosen to leave many things out for my public blog.

So…what was it like?

Continue reading

Nomad. Photographer. Traveler. Wanderer. Dreams become reality.

Nomad. Basically means either a pastoral nomad, moving his herd every day in search of food, or a hunter gatherer nomad moving with the wildlife. Bruce Chatwin was forever fascinated by nomadic life and once spent years and years writing a book about his own thesis on ‘the nomadic alternative’. This brick of a book was according to his publisher almost unreadable and Chatwin ended up instead traveling Patagonia and writing ‘In Patagonia’. The rest is history.

I have spent the past 4 months attempting to realise my own Nomadic Alternative. On Monday the 23rd of November dreams become reality as I board my plane to freely travel the world, photograph, experience, write and live! New life. The road is the home. Nomadic Alternative.

I now own basically what I can carry. Well, carry with some help as there is an awful lot of camera gear, laptop, books and clothes. Still, my life and possessions is reduced to a mobile state and I have no home but the world, the road. Nomadic alternative. These are truly exciting times! Complete freedom and total liberation! I do know how lucky people consider me to be and I will live up to it.  But I have basically created this situation myself and I believe everyone can do this or parts of this. Most of what tie us down are in our minds!

While I do call it my Nomadic Alternative, like Bruce Chatwin would say, that is a truth and a half. Chatwin liked to say he was travelling with just a notebook and a backpack. In reality he carried a whole home with him, including a ton of books. In reality I will be jumping from base to base as a place to sleep is always quite nice! My first base will be with friends in Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. A dear friend from Copenhagen will also join me in Chiang Mai and together we will explore Asia for the next 4 months. Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo, perhaps Burma, Laos and a little gday to Australia as well could be on the menu. No plans, except to live! photograph, experience, travel and be free, free!

Not all those who wander are lost.” – Tolkien

"So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun." -Chris McCandless

The road is home

Let us conclude with the road, in this case a lovely red dirt road from Karijini, Australia. Red and blue dawn at it’s finest. Into the Wild.

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Karijini Red and Blue Dawn
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

If you know some great photography locations in Thailand – and Asia – I would love to hear about them! See you on the road.

Into The Wild

I am shamelessly lifting the title from Jon Krakauer’s brilliant book and Sean Penn’s equally brilliant movie about Christopher McCandless. The title is just so fitting for my quest to photograph the world’s untouched, remote and desolate landscapes and for my “back to nature” obsession.

Tuesday I take off Into The Wild. Namibia is the first stop in the next 3 months of travel and photography work that will also take me to Australia and ultimately Borneo. On Borneo in June I am working for 2-3 weeks for United Plantations; shooting their plantations and surrounding jungle on Borneo, documenting their eco sustainable production of palm oil. A very interesting assignment; I will be working alongside a Danish reporter with film crew shooting a documentary, while I take care of the landscape stills.

But first up in two days is the amazing otherworldly dunes, deserts and landscapes of Namibia! Will be out of this world spectacular to shoot this:

www.namibiatourism.com.na

Adventure and magical landscapes calls me. See you on the flipside!

Photo courtesy of Namibia Tourism Board – http://www.namibiatourism.com.na