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Cato Lein – Widely Close

Exhibition January 2024 – April 2024

I have happily lived with my camera for the past 45 years. I still do, it feels natural, and I never know who or what I’ll find. So, I am prepared for anything and everything. Without a camera I feel naked. And this life-long journey keeps bringing surprises and inspires growth in my approach to taking photographs.

Starting as a young, curious photographer, I didn’t really know what I wanted, or how to focus on a concept. But now, after many years of travel (both physical and mental), I can rely on my experience to help me make decisions. Composition, form, and movement are integrated in my body, in my backbone. My entire being lives in the present and that exciting space directly beyond.

Over the years, however, demands on myself have increased. What seemed easy when I was young, is now difficult because I understand more about context, themes, and the technical aspects of photography. So, I have “raised the bar” of expectations, results, and depth of understanding. Being hard on myself, the pictures I took last month are crap. But that doesn’t stop me from looking further, and being happily surprised when the next wonderful moments and pictures appear.

There is a physical feeling that I can only access by using analogue photography. I take the shot, stir the film at the right temperature, process and print the picture. The procedure takes the time it takes, and the results are often unexpected. By not having full control, I find joy in being surprised by the outcome. The result is often what I want, even if I didn’t know for sure from the start.

With a digital camera, I have the opportunity to keep shooting and shooting. Pressing the shutter over and over again. When I shoot analogue, I take far fewer shots. Today, I trust myself, take the picture, and have a sense that it will be good. The picture is always there, so it’s up to me to find the right energy and inspire the person/subject to enter the photo. It’s about breathing, the pause between two shots, when a person relaxes. That’s where and when I want to press the button.

After all my travels, road trips, personal meetings, and projects, I have a large amount of material. During the pandemic and the bans on travel, I had the opportunity to sort and catalogue hundreds of photos. As a result, my perspective has grown again due to my colleagues and networks all over the world. The future holds new books, exhibitions, and projects. I look forward to the next adventure.

Cato Lein december 2023

About Cato Lein

Cato Lein has been working professionally as a freelance photographer since the mid -1990s. Over the years, he has made a name for himself, among other things, through his national and international author portraits. In parallel with freelance assignments, Lein constantly works on his projects, compiled and presented in books and exhibitions. These projects are long-term, as he enjoys allowing them to take shape and evolve over extended periods.

In 2005, Lein published his first book under his name – Blick/Sight by Nya Vyer Förlag. The book contains a collection of portraits taken between 1984 and 2004, and since then, he has contributed to several books. In November 2022, the book Northern Silence was published by the French publisher André Frère Éditions. Pictures taken over 25-year period from the area in Northern Norway where Lein grew up. “Northern Silence” was awarded the Swedish Photo book Prize 2023.

The upcoming release will be the first book in a trilogy, The Poet and the Baltic Sea a project released in 2024. It is a poetic visual narrative based on Tomas Tranströmer’s epic poem Baltics (1974). The project reflects Tranströmer’s fragmented and poetic text, but now without words and instead through Lein’s visual language. Cato Lein has always had great exchanges with his international colleagues in the Baltic region, the Arctic Circle, Eastern and Southern Europe, and Asia. He values their friendship greatly. They are all sources of inspiration and significant in terms of collaboration and exchange of experience. Lein participates and is Continuously respresented during photo festivals and exhibitions in Sweden but also internationally.

Cato Lein

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