THE POPE AND I





Many pictures come with a story, especially pictures with people in them.
If the content itself doesn't inspire the story, then maybe the creation does.
I guess this short story is about keeping the focus...



Once upon a time (when I was a young photographer) the pope visited Copenhagen.


It was not for religious reasons I decided to try to get a picture of him while he was in town - I just wanted to see if it could be done, me getting a picture of the pope.


So, there I was, ready with my camera at the catholic church in Copenhagen, an early morning at 6 o'clock, because I wanted the best space up front. And I got the best space - there was not a single soul until 8 o'clock, but soon the street was full of catholic Danes.


At 9 o'clock the pope appeared. He attended the church act and when the ceremony was over, the huge wooden church doors were opened.


Finally the pope came out. He walked quietly, closely surrounded by bodyguards, ministers, press photographers, secretaries and wannabees - everyone wanted to be seen with the pope and to be close to him.


The whole scenery seemed chaotic and maybe it interrupted the pope’s inner peace, because suddenly he stopped for a short while and looked up to the sky, to his lord.


That's when I shot the picture seen here.





He probably had a divine moment and soon he was ready again, continuing down the stairs and into the street where people were waiting for him to honor them with his precense - and maybe even shake their hands.


And so he did. He shook hands all over the place, he shook and shook the best he could, trying to shake hands with everyone. And there were many, many hands.


I'm not religious, but it was nevertheless fascinating being this close to the pope, who just kept coming closer.


And then I too raised my hand - for god knows what reason, so to speak...


The same evening, Danish news television showed an interesting piece about the pope's visit in the catholic church in Copenhagen.


In one particular clip (the one that seemed like the longest clip) the pope was seen walking by the long line of faithfull visitors while shaking hands. And there I was (the camera zooming in on me) with my hands all over the place, trying to shake the hand of the worlds most famous man.


Only, by coinsidence, he greeted everyone else standing around me, missing my intrusive hands by inches as he walked by.


It must be the longest television clip I have ever seen - me standing there, not shaking hands with the pope - flashing myself to the nation..


Basically it was a miserable photographic achievement. I did not even get a single close-up picture of the pope and the man was standing right in front of me, not even a meter away. It was a unique chance, a chance most photographers never get, and I missed it because I just wanted to shake hands…


Well, I guess the lesson must be; If your focus is not right, you will not get the picture.