Me and the Photobook

Today I work for Idea Society. It’s a think-tank that experiment with projects that bring people, ideas and stories together. Though the road to this have been long.

Example of projects we have been doing:

Project of How, (Interactive open access library around the creative process. Web)

The Photo Book about Sweden (citizen photo-journalism project. Book & International Exhibition)

Georgia Stories (citizen photo-journalism. Exhibition)

This Must Be The Place (book and international exhibition)



May 2006. We where going to Argentina, looking for a book to give away that represented our lives in Sweden. We old found book that showed a surreal romantized idea about Sweden, an utopia in the north. A static image that few people (not us at least) could relate to. At least when I came to show some kind of daily life.
The idea of a “REAL” book about Sweden was born. 2007 I sent in a proposal about doing an EU, youth in action project together with 3 friends to depict Sweden. The Photo Book about Sweden was in many ways my best schooling in doing a big project.

The idea was simple. Apply for money -> Take photos -> print a book -> have a release party. The process turned out to be a bit more complicated. We got money. After working a while we came to a conclusion that 4 people we’re to little to create something that people could relate to. Late 2007 we decided to crowdsource the book. We got 1500 pictures and we chose 4 percent of them. In february 2009 after 2 years of work the book was published translated into 7 languages.

The picture describes the process better that words:


The most important learning with that project was the importance of communicating the project in one sentence. To fast be able to pitch the idea.

Another thing was that the vision is not the outcome! If you wanna get people on a project like this, its key to be able to describe the selection process of the book.

Everything is a process and if people should understand the value of what you do they have to understand that it’s work behind. No matter its tomatos or websites you are working on.

Therefore how you do things becomes important. If you know how you do things you can also become better at what you do. Most interesting conversations is about how or why you do things. Not about what you do. What is only a introduction to understand the process. It could be how you do a project but also how you change an engine or why and how someone acted like they did.

My interest of process came from the need to be able to tell people about a project where the process created the project. Therefore I’m now part of a team building Project of How. An open library of creative methods that also explore how people carry out their process and how they think through video interviews. Check out

1 Like

Process Process Process

Hey Ola, thanks for sharing this. You know there is an ongoing discussion about the value of creative work. It was kicked off by Elas post about her work with the Free Culture Incubator. And I think your project of how touches on some important points. Maybe drop in on it and say hi? Especially Alessia is seriously exploring the topic and I think you two might connect.


Will check it out! Woop!


Will check it out! Woop!

new angle!

hi ola,

thank you very much for your post. it really opens out perspectives that i wasn’t thinking of! you know process-driven is often thought of very negatively in the bureaucratic nature of my work, but it’s looks like it’s very different in a creative or idea-sharing process. perhaps it’s if process is just for process sake?

in either case knowing how to handle the process is definitely a major necessity in governmental bureaucracy, and maybe one of the most undervalued, highly effective competences?

it is definitely a different world though. i don’t know if this angle is interesting or not, just simply so different!!

keep well