After living for two years in Greenland 2000-2002, in Tokyo from 2006-2008 and working in Bangkok 2008-2009, I felt that it was time to start looking at my own background, to start photographing in the city where I grew up, my home, Copenhagen.
Home is a place of memories. It is where I have my roots.
It is a place I keep returning to. If I want to learn more about myself and the world I live in, this is where I look – in my own backyard. The place where my personality was shaped and dreams were built.
In many ways I feel that I have always been taking pictures of my home, especially in Greenland, where I photographed my relationship with Sabine and daily life as a hunter. However also in Tokyo, where the streets in Shinjuku and the area around Yoyogi-park became the places I felt close to for almost two years. Even though - deep down - I have always been a stranger in these foreign places, it has been my desire to get involved, to become a part of these places - to make their culture my own.
Therefore, when I received an email from Trent Park inviting me to participate in a project called Home, I immediately felt a connection to this idea and my own way of working - photographing the people and places that I feel close to. By sharing my stories and thoughts with other Magnum Photographers participating in the home project, I am also hopeful that we will create closer relationships and inspire each other within the group.
In my search to find a way to begin this project I found two pictures that inspired me. The first taken last year of my twin brother putting his hand on my grandmothers forehead as she was dying, and the other of my girlfriends sister giving birth in Greenland back in 2002. For me the obvious existential character of these two images started off this project called Home. And so, since April of this year,
I have been photographing family, friends, and acquaintances, but also encounters with strangers that I feel a connection with, and who invite me inside their apartments or houses.
In this process I will not only use my camera to take pictures, but also as an instrument to create intimacy and closeness in a poetic, direct and unsentimental way. In spite of photography’s seemingly concrete form I hope to expose layers in people that are not immediately visible, but nonetheless shape who we are and give meaning to our lives. I believe this way of working will bring me closer to a feeling of what the term home means to myself and the people I photograph in Copenhagen. This is the beginning.
Jacob Aue Sobol