Nyköping is a small town in Southern Sweden, and some happy circumstances led me to spend an hour or so wandering around the local train station, waiting for a connection to Linköping. I was traveling light, having to spend just a night in Scandinavia: my Nikon, one kilogram of the finest Belgian chocolate and a present for a newly born baby I would have visited the day after.
At a first sight, I thought I was the only human being alive — in the city. Or at least, at the train station. Then I saw these two girls. They looked sixteen, or maybe eighteen. As it turned out, I largely overestimated their age. One of them was fixing a screen, while holding a digital reflex in her right hand. She had some dark blond hair and a cute smile. I soon discovered that Josefin, this her name, had also an attitude.
Jag jobbar som fotograf
The two girls, Josefin and her model, spent quite some time taking shots around the station. Then, when I saw that their work was almost over, I had some word with them. In (almost) Swedish. We exchanged our respective blog addresses, and had few words about our cameras. Then I asked ingenuously: “Are you a photography student?”
Josefin eyes flickered: “No, I am not a student. I work as photographer.”
Her tone did not let any space to doubts. She was a photographer.
How could I judge her just for her age.
When I was fourteen
So, on the train to Linköping I started to think about myself, when I was fourteen.
I had this idea to become a Catholic priest, at the time. However, I would have never imagined to see myself as an accomplished adult. The Italian school system, all the way up to the highest grades of education, treats young people (that is, those below age 50) as inexperienced idiots, and permanent apprentices. The average age of Italian university professors is just a symptom of this practice.
In Sweden, kids are taught to be self confident and proactive. A fourteen year old girl with a digital camera may be a photographer. If she wants to. And society is ready to accept her in the role she chose. Once home, yesterday night, I visited Josefin website (do not miss it: http://jjosefineklund.blogg.se/), and I discovered she is actually good! A happy couple even hired her as their wedding photographer!
Would you imagine any Italian giving some credit to a teenager blond girl with a camera and an attitude? If I will have a daughter, one day, I want my girl to have the same attitude of this Josefin.