Jul 26

By request: the American soul UPDATED AGAIN

by in Culture, People

In a comment to my blog, my friend Ole – who shares my affection for the USA – has challenged me to capture “the American soul” through various themes with my camera in 48 hours:

  • devotion
  • diversity
  • dignity
  • disillusion.

It certainly is a very good idea/assignment, but I had to bend the time limit quite a bit.

Below you will find my attempts to depict devotion, diversity, dignity and disillusion. The results could probably have turned out better, if I had been more experienced. But in any case Ole’s challenge has certainly inspired me to turn my lens more towards people and try to depict their story.

Obviously this photo does not only depict the devotion between the newlyweds but also between eachs of them individually and the Mormon church. It is tempting to speculate, which devotion is stronger, if it comes to that?


I think this photo of Miss Illinois, Miss California and Miss South Carolina depicts diversity pretty well. The lovely Miss Maryland, who could have completed the depiction of diversity, slipped away. But you cannot really be dissatisfied with this picture, can you?


The NYPD has the following set of values: Courtesy, Professionalism and Respect. To me it indicates dignity in the relationship between officers and citizens. As you may have noticed the initial letters also form the abbreviation CPR!


This dude was taking a nap in front of New York Public Library. Obviously he was down on his luck. I assume that he was pretty disillusioned about his situation. I hope that he will find a better future. Maybe the sign behind him will inspire him. But he probably needs more than that – a hard effort, luck and not least some help from compassionate people.

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6 Responses to “By request: the American soul UPDATED AGAIN”

  1. From Ole:

    Hi Erik

    Finally, I get a chance to reply on your posts. The internet in this part of Portugal seems rather flaky.

    First of all, thank you for the pictures and thoughts. Am I the only one that enjoy reading your thoughts and experiences? Well I guess not! They are truly admirable and inspiring.

    Personally, I used one of your experiences (the visit at Nixon’s home) explaining to one of my students how engaging museum experiences emerge from different experiential qualities combining (and aligning) different sensual channels such as visuals, auditory input and taste.

    Again, thank you for sharing your experiences.

    Thank you also for responding to my invitation concerning the four D’s. I am not to judge whether you have fulfilled the assignment or to what extend the pictures are corresponding to the different emotions. I’ll leave that entirely to the blog followers.

    However, I want to comment on your choice of motive. I gave you the assignment hoping you to reveal the American soul. However, I’m not confident that this has been the case so far. Actually, I think that the pictures and especially the choice of motives, tells me more about the photographer than the Americans. There seems to be a pattern. However, I am not capable of verbalizing this particular pattern yet. Perhaps someone wants to help me out here? ;-)

    I am quite confident that good old Sigmund or anybody with a 10 hour crash course in psychology would be able to get something out of this. What say you, Erik?

    So long for now, I salute you and your blog with Sagres beers…


    Posted on July 18, 2011 at 23:07 #
    • From Erik Thrane:

      Hi Ole

      Thanks for a great comment.

      I just realized that your assignment is even better than I thought, because it also comes with wise guidance. I should have known it, since it is coming from you!

      Sorry for staying from the subject with my cheap stunts. I think it was the marriage prank that got me started, as it built a lot of hits/readership. But I should have known better than to go down that slippery road. So, thanks for pulling me back on the serious track.

      So I have revised the post entirely. I do stand by my shot of diversity though, because it not only depicts ethnic diversity but also the cultural habit of beauty pageants. Now, I shall try to find fitting subjects for the remaining D’s.

      I am afraid that I cannot return your salute with a beer, because I am in the Navajo Nation, which is dry land. That is perhaps fitting for this somber moment.

      But I gladly salute you with ice tea. :-)

      Thanks again, my friend!

      Posted on July 19, 2011 at 05:23 #
  2. From Sheavie:

    I just wanted to thank you Erik for posting us on your blog! It was such a treat to meet you. I hope you have safe travels and many adventures!

    Sheavie Williams
    Ms. Illinois United States 2011

    Posted on July 24, 2011 at 23:05 #
    • From Erik Thrane:

      Hi Sheavie

      I am so glad to hear from you. Many thanks for visiting my blog and for your kind comment. It was indeed my pleasure.

      It was so nice to photograph someone, who knows how to pose for the camera. :-)

      I wish you all the best with your various initiatives.

      Best regards

      Posted on July 25, 2011 at 02:38 #
  3. From Ole:

    Two down. Two to go…

    Posted on August 7, 2011 at 21:25 #
    • From Erik Thrane:

      I’m on it! ;-)

      Posted on August 8, 2011 at 01:40 #