Melancholia – random contemplations

I have often described my work as melancholic. When I look up the meaning of Melancholia in the “Oxford Languages” on the www it’s defined as a feeling of deep sadness and severe depression. The exact meaning has changed over the years. However, I feel it’s not so much ‘just’ depression and mere sadness, but sadness that comes from a feeling of beauty, vanishing. A form of nostalgia, a feeling of sadness over something, anything, that once was, and / or never will be. If you can’t feel beauty you’ll never be able to feel melancholic. There’s a certain healthy aspect to it, unlike with depression.

Savelsbos 2020 – Leica Monochrom, Summicron 35mm f2.0

I’ve also mentioned Weltschmerz before. It denotes a deep sadness about the inadequacy or imperfection of the world, as noted by the Brothers Grimm. Weltschmerz. A feeling of melancholy and world-weariness, again according to the Oxford Languages. My work has probably more to do with Weltschmerz than with Melancholia. I don’t feel at home in the world. I love life very much but I always have the feeling there’s nowhere I truly belong. I just don’t quite understand it, the ‘way the world works’ so to say.
Work, so you’re able to live somewhere, pay your bills, make sure you make ends meet, try and have fun in between (and during work of course also) but this slavery of the modern system, in a way it’s choking really. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to work, I LOVE my jobs, I hope to never retire, but the feeling that you HAVE to work at least 40 hours a week to be able to pay your bills, that’s utterly ridiculous. There’s more to life than work and we invented this system…All the buying, consuming, well I could go on forever I guess..wars, starving people on the other hand, the contradictions…Trump…god, that that’s even possible… Sigh, I’m happy to have a camera and a forest…

Savelsbos 2020 – Leica Monochrom, Summicron 35mm f2.0

My landscapes are the worlds I want to flee into. They are my safe havens. Places where I want to be, without being reminded of what the world is like. Often a tad dark, so you can’t find me easily. It’s perhaps like where I used to hide in my head, and still do.
In music I hide in the tones of Max Richter, also quite darkish, but so full of beauty and mesmerisment. It’s where I go when I want to think, and let my mind wander off.

“The voices of the world becoming quieter and fewer”
~ Franz Kafka – The Blue Octavo Notebooks

Savelsbos 2020 – Leica Monochrom, Summicron 35mm f2.0

“When Thomas brought the news that the house I was born in no longer exists
Neither the name, nor the park sloping to the river
I had a dream of return
I was able to fly
And the trees were even higher than in childhood
Because they had been growing during all the years since they had been cut down”

Max Richter – The Trees – The Blue Notebooks
Original text is from the Blue Octavo Notebooks by Franz Kafka

Savelsbos 2020 – Leica Monochrom, Summicron 35mm f2.0


  1. The first paragraph of your post was a revelation to me. This is completely non-related to photography but I have found difficult to explain to my (Spanish) family the somewhat deep sadness and, at the same time, joy and even excitement that the northern part of my home country and its nature gives me. These feelings are interconnected (or one, but nothing to do with depression) and the feeling has never changed. The melancholy and and beauty are always mixed when I return, and were even when I lived in Finland. It’s almost like I wad missing something that was before my time.
    And before I start sounding crazy I stop. But thank you for the post Indra,. Your work is beautiful.

    1. Thank you for your lovely words! Beauty and sadness are in a way correlated; you can’t feel melancholic if you’re not able to experience beauty. Finland must be a place where there’s a lot of beauty in nature. Thanks for responding; it’s very special to see my words are being read, and can be of meaning to someone 🙂

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