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Field Notes
SEPTEMBER 2007
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Bog Bodies


Robert Clark

Robert Clark
Photograph by Alex Di Suvero



Best
The best part of this assignment is that I finally get to tell the fascinating story of the bog bodies. I had tried ten years ago, but it didn’t work out. So, when I was given the opportunity to work on the story again, I jumped at the chance. One of my greatest joys is that I got to revisit the Tollund Man and photograph him again. I know he looks the same as ten years ago—same serene look, same rope about his neck—but the passage of time allowed me to see him with fresh eyes. Making the perfect portrait of him is a goal I feel I finally achieved. And one that I can now share.

Worst
The quick trip—15 days—to Denmark to photograph the Tollund Man required 14 cases of equipment. Getting all these cases through the airports was the biggest hassle I had on the trip. From negotiating the different regulations in the U.S. and in Europe to having to pay for excess weight on the return trip—you name it, I had to deal with it. While this happens a lot on many of my assignments, it just seemed more of a headache this time around.

Quirkiest
When I was traveling through TK WHERE in Ireland, I came across TK NAME, an artist who made sculptures out of bog wood. Once trapped in a peat bog, this wood was petrified and stained dark by the tannins of the decaying moss. TK NAME’s sculptures had a unique look, one that was due in great part to the glow of the wood. I thought it would be interesting to photograph these sculptures against the source of that look. I talked TK NAME into letting me take some of them to the nearby Clara Bog. Seeing them sitting among the various mosses of the bog was a sight to behold—one that sticks with me.


Read author Karen E. Lange’s field notes.

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