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MAN UNTITLED

Through a decade Nikolaj Møller has been travelling to the outskirts of the world to document men that most of us never will meet, from oil wrestlers in the Turkish heat, to cowboys in Brazil, cricket collectors in Uganda, and Afghan soldiers in the Helmand Province. It’s an endeavour in it self, here presented as remix of 86 photographs without a fixed narrative.

– Peter Amby / The Last Resort

The first time I was in Afghanistan. I went to the Helmand Province to photograph the Afghan Security Forces. One day I was at a checkpoint and turned around when I felt a strange notion of someone standing behind me; It was a police man staring at me. One foot on a rock, holding his machine gun and his eyes locked at me. I took about six frames of him. All the same. No movement. We never spoke. It wasn’t until later that I noticed the small seemingly unimportant details of the key hanging from the barrel of his gun and his zipper being open.

There’s a special feeling looking in to another person’s eyes, not knowing who they are. Them starring back at you. It becomes mystical – the interaction. Even years later, when it is through an image on a wall, looking at each other from different places, in different perspectives there is an encounter. A special connection.

I’ve always been fascinated with the story of the man and his surroundings. The isolated man. The working man. The fighting man. But it isn’t the stereotypes what interest me. Even though it is soldiers and cowboys, it’s the stereotypes turned upside down. It’s the skinny Afghan soldier receiving three weeks of training, before being sent to the frontline. It is the Brazilian cowboy who can only afford four bullets in his six-shooter or the boys and men working all night catching bush crickets in Uganda for pennies. They live in the vast landscapes, in the jungles, in the chaos. Many of them are forgotten or unknown by the outside world.

To me the most personal form of photography is the portrait. It’s someone giving themselves to everyone else. Allowing their story, their face and eyes, their person to be forever. I rarely instruct the people in my portraits. I don’t ask them to stand or sit in a certain way. I just turn around and there they are. Looking at me. Like an anonymous sculpture only there for a short glimpse.

– Nikolaj Møller

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