The importance of knowing more than one language.

I am a professional linguist who has become seriously interested in photography, especially art photography. I have a long research experience with linguistic diversity. I have worked with storytelling and event descriptions across some fifty languages and learnt a lot about what people from different linguistic corners of the world choose to detail when they tell a story. And how their choices systematically vary with which language they are speaking.

An important lesson is that linguistic diversity offers a variety of informational perspectives. And therefore, it is advantageous to know more than one language.

Photography is a way of seeing.
Photography represents a means of expression which is very different from languages. When I first had a chance to use a professional camera, I became so much more aware of the qualities of light – qualities which are peripheral or non-existent when it comes to languages.  In that spirit, I am exploring the possibilities offered by photography.

Photography is a way of seeing. It is, to a considerable extent, a personal way of seeing the world and exploring fragments, moments and perspectives. And to share these fragments, moments and perspectives with others, inviting them to explore. Thus, both languages and photography are about communication.

Three global challenges for our existence.
We live in a time of great socio-political tensions, stress and violence. And an excessive use of language and visual information, not the least in social media. I’ve come to think of the global challenges as boiling down to three grand issues. All three are crucial to our existence. The climate is one of them. With no concern for the climate, no life. Another issue is human rights. With no human rights, no dignified life. A third one is communication in general and disinformation in particular. Disinformation threatens us with a manipulated, un-free life.

Facts, feelings and attitudes.
Safeguard your access to multiple sources of information and to different perspectives. Learn to analyse information and apply criteria of quality. And be an honest and responsible communicator. Whether it applies to facts, feelings or attitudes. Our lives depend on you and our joint efforts.

Sven Strömqvist