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19 November 2005
Pleased in a snap
Source : Dagbladets Magasinet
- No, now I have to try being serious. This is going into the paper. Damned...!

Lene Marlin is standing on the middle of the floor at photographer Dag Thorenfeldt. She is looking straight into the Hasselblad lens. In her right hand she is holding a cable release. She is making an attempt at pulling herself together, but fails. The longed-for melancholy and the mysterious sadness have to pass.

On the sideline Thorenfeldt is standing, ahoying!

- You are ruining everything, she says, resigned and smiling.

- Hahahaha! Look at me and push the button. Give me now a smile and some laughter, that will do. Come on! Ha ha ha!

Photographer Thorenfeldt is famous for his portrait photographs, and for lifting his models. He is also known for his laughter: Loud, shrilling, hysterical - and catchy. Lene Marlin wished to learn more about portrait photography. 'Magasinet' took her by her words, and joined her for a trip to Thorenfeldt's photo studio, so that she will receive a basic introduction to portrait photography, and so that she will be attempting something new: Taking pictures of herself with professional equipment. The photographer has been speaking about lighting, shutter openings, shutter timing, and about depth of field. Quite comprehensive about depth of field. It sounds pretty complicated, and Thorenfeldt is obviously impressed by Lene's learning abilities.

- Did you understand, Thorenfeldt wonders?

Lene nods.

RECENTLY Lene Marlin released the single 'What If' from the album 'Lost In A Moment'. It came out this summer, and was met with lukewarm reviews. So far, the album has sold 35.000 copies, about half of what 'Another Day' did. It sold again hundred thousand less than the debut album 'Playing My Game'. On her own homepage, Lene butchered the critics.

- I can quickly get irritated by criticism in general. That there are no words about the actual record in the criticism. Before I've always kept my mouth shut, but now I thought: Writing is therapy. I'm writing, and then I'm finished with it.

- Did you get disappointed by the criticism?

- I have never gotten great reviews on any of the things I've done. It has never been full house. However, first now the second single 'What If' is coming.

- So it could still turn around?

- Yes, we'll see.

Just now Lene is high on success after a promotion tour to Taiwan and China.

- I have really tried to find out why they have taken me in like that. I'm the best selling European artist in Taiwan in ten years. That somebody so far away, from such a different culture is relating to my music, is fascinating.

Lene is vividly telling about a press conference where she expected that it would appear a two-three photographers. She rounded the corner, came into the premises, and met a wall of flashlights and crackling cameras.

- And like this it was the whole way. Totally incredible!

- Have you considered making it a little simpler, to settle down in a big city like London or New York?

- That must eventually have been for a shorter period. There is something about coming home. To be seated on a SAS plane, even though you have twenty hours flight ahead of you, is almost like being home already. I like having some space and quiet around me, and couldn't have been living on a place where there were two hundred people no matter where I turned.

- Is home Oslo or Tromsų?

- Oslo has been my home for seven years, and I have experienced a very important phase of my life here. I have no plans of moving back to Tromsų.

- With such a well-known face and name, is it hard getting to know new people?

- Just a few days ago, I spoke with somebody about just that. I think it is something one learns along the way. I have met people along the way who have had the wrong intentions. It is clear that I have gotten some severe hits when it comes to people I thought I could trust. Now I'm very relaxed and I'm choosing to believe that I have eventually become a good judge of character, she says.

ACCORDING TO the tax rolls, Lene Marlin had last year an income of 2.7 million and 11 million in fortune.

- Just these money things... What I'm noticing it most on is that I have a fantastic freedom. The worries that I had concerning money, I don't have anymore. It is a privileged situtation to be in.

- So you are not that occupied with money?

- Not in the way that I'm sitting with bags in front of me and cleaning coins.

- What are you spending money on?

- I bought a new video camera at the airport on the way to Tapei. But it didn't cost much. It was on sale. In the tax free store, she says.

The brand new camera she used to immortalize the whole tour to Taiwan and China.

- It is very okay being able to share this with friends. I have watched the video recordings from the tour and discovered that I'm myself equally enthusiastic as my friends. I should really wish that I had been doing this earlier. Filmed more and taken more pictures. There are so many memories in pictures. Just watch a picture, and suddenly it has awoken innumerable memories.

Lene takes a break.

- There is so much I don't remember, especially from the first time as an artist. Not all periods in life you remember equally much from, but seriously - there is too much that have disappared from the time surrounding the first album. This I don't like at all. When you're 25, there shouldn't be much that is gone. Therefore I'm taking very many pictures now. I want to create a photo diary.

LENE MARLIN WAS 17 years old when she broke through. It's the classic story about over-the-night-fame. And with that follows always some less pleasant things. Lene withdrew for three and a half years. During that time she learned a lot about herself, and even more about how important it is to divide the private Lene Marlin from the artist Lene Marlin.

- You wish to appear as mystic and serious, ok. You aren't afraid of falling into the Liv Ullmann trap, that you now have to spend the next 40 years on convincing people that you actually have humour and self-irony?

- No. I do of course have that. However, regarding photos, I think pictures get nicer when they have a certain mood.

NOW SHE IS STANDING straight up and down on the floor, the eyes are fastened on the Hasselblad lens, the hand is clenched around a cable release.

- Now I have to try to be a little serious! I like the more dramatic style, Lene says. A couple of exposures in dramatic light, with the one hand in front of the face. This is nordic drama with a capital initial letter.

- Yes, this is perhaps your style a little. A little sinister and withdrawn, Thorenfeldt says.

That is enough to make Lene starting to laugh again. Lene is cursing, tramples the floor, and is pressing the cable release again. And again. And another time. Photographer Thorenfeldt is keeping his mouth shut for a few seconds, Lene manages to keep her mask. Then it is the end of the film.

- Now there are only two rolls left. Then we have to shoot a lifting picture! Thorenfeldt yells.

- No! Lene answers, and is taking a step back.

- Oh, yes, be so kind. Can't I be allowed to lift you?

- I'm usually very strict with what I'm doing in the studio..., Lene starts and is looking at Thorenfeldt, who looks like a disappointed little boy.

- Ok. As long as I'm allowed to press the cable release it's fine.

Shortly thereafter, Lene has been put safely down to the floor again. Thorenfeldt is showing her polaroids, and she is nodding satisfactorily. The day's quick introduction to how to take a good studio portrait is over.

On the way out of the studio, I'm asking her what she has actually learned.

- Taking pictures of yourself is fantastic. It gives a wonderful feeling of control.

- But all the technicalities, did you get all that about depth of field ?

- No, she says.

- But I pretended I was.

Translated by Tef Johs


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