We have our Danish Imports!

Danish Imports, exhibition, udstilling, pbmj, photography by matthew james, expats, foreignersSeveral weeks ago I wrote a blog calling for non-Danes to step forward to be part of a new exhibition I’m hosting. The response was insane, I’m pleased to say, and after some heavy vetting, I managed to narrow it down to just a few people.

To quote the official Facebook Event Page, ‘Danish Imports’ aims to shine a different light on the many people who have in some way contributed to Danish society but were not born on Danish soil. From travelling entertainers and international students, to scientists, freak shows and journalists, these imports are just the tip of the iceberg.

The exhibition launch party takes place on Wednesday 13th August at Generator Hostel, 5-7 Adelgade, 1304 København K, and if you rock up early enough, you just might score yourself a free beverage or two.

I’ve spoken to so many expats and Danes about the theme of the exhibition, often as a result of hearing some of the obstacles that many of us have faced since moving here. The language, finding friends and networking, and facing stereotypes based on our countries of origin have all played a significant role in our lives since moving to Denmark. Speaking with these people has made me realise that we are by no means alone, and that we share a common bond.

What’s clear is that we love Denmark and the city of Copenhagen. Everyone has moved here (or briefly visited) either for a better life or to provide entertainment and excitement. Despite hearing some very sad tales, the exhibition’s subjects all share hope, freedom and optimism for the future. Meeting these people has been very inspiring indeed.

If you would like to join the party next month, head over to my Facebook page or the official Danish Imports page. And of course, you can always keep up to date via my Twitter and Instagram feeds.

Hope to see you there…

DK. Closed.

It’s taking some getting used to, this holiday malarkey. In fact, just today I urgently needed to head to the shops to get some supplies and pick up a brand new bicycle lock en route. I’d lost the other one during the CPH Marathon a few weeks back.

As I headed down Valby Langgade I couldn’t help but notice how quiet it was. Then it dawned on me for the xth time this year: it’s a public holiday, and DK is on lockdown.

This doesn’t happen where I come from. And an American man I met a few weeks back summed it up nicely. “In the States, when there’s a public holiday, businesses make the most of Capitalism and sell sell sell.” It’s the same in England, too. And with the weather like it is today here in CPH, some serious dollars are being lost in the shops and stalls whose doors are firmly shut.

To be honest, I’ve moaned about this a lot. The end result for me today was a pointless bike ride (albeit in the sunshine) with a list of chores that still need doing tomorrow morning when it speaks of rain. If I’d been called out on a photo job today, I would’ve struggled to get from A to B on my bike because I don’t want to risk leaving it unlocked, obviously. Thus I would have been in a bit of a predicament.

So I hate the whole idea of businesses closing on a public holiday. It’s a legal requirement apparently, though I’m not sure about the exact ins-and-outs of the law itself. The question is: am I wrong?

This whole thing stinks of Jantelov in my humble opinion. It’s a holiday and everyone deserves the day off, regardless of what they do (except the bar staff and waitresses, and me, of course). But isn’t that a nice thing? If a country decides to give it’s citizens a day off for whatever reason then isn’t that exactly what we should be doing? Looking out of my window today I can see families playing together in their gardens and couples sunbathing with a bbq burning away in the corner. If you already know that everywhere will be closed for the day, then surely you get everything sorted beforehand and you just accept that that’s the way it is. It’s how it used to be in the UK, too.

When I was kid, the shops were always closed on Sundays and therefore we went to get our food and school clothes the day before. It left Sundays free for cooking a roast dinner with the whole family and catching up on The Simpsons at 6pm. It was nice. It was simple. With all the department stores (but never the banks) now open on Sundays, all that has disappeared.

It seems that my biggest problem with Denmark being closed today is me. How long is it going to take me to get used to it? And what the hell am I doing still sitting here writing this? I’m off out.

Houses in Skagen

Surrealistic Blue Sky, contrasting color of the roof, white and yellow.

Have you ever been to Skagen?  Woudn’t it be nice to have some fresh fish dishes in the fairy traditional house?

Against sand.


Fish House detail

Full house, sunset

Expats & foreigners wanted for new photo exhibition

Right then, who wants to be photographed?

More importantly, who can tick off each and every one of the requirements on this list, and wants to be photographed?

i) You were not born in Denmark
ii) You have either A) Moved here permanently or, B) moved here temporarily
iii) Or, you might be visiting Copenhagen purely as an entertainer or contributor to society somehow
iv) You have an interesting story to tell that focuses on why you came here in the first place

For my next project as part of an up-coming exhibition entitled Danish Imports I’m looking for a few more faces.

So far I’ve photographed Brazilian opera singers, Australian architects, and a freak show duo from the US. Now I need you to help me tell a few more stories.

I’m extending the invite to everyone who reads this but only a small handful are going to make it through to ‘the final.’ Simply because exhibition space is tight.

So if you’re thinking “I wasn’t born here and I’ve got a story to tell,” then please contact me and include a recent photograph and a short summary about yourself and your life prior to moving here. The following questions will need answering, too.

Full Name
Date of Birth
Country of Origin
Languages Spoken
Date moved to Copenhagen and reason for doing so
Where you live (area, not street name)
Your career before moving to Copenhagen
Your career now / current status
What do you feel you contribute to Danish society?
What do you enjoy most about living Denmark / Copenhagen?
What challenges have you faced over here?
Do you feel you are integrating well in to society? Why?
Your plans for the future

The opening night of the exhibition is Friday 18th July at Generator Hostel on Adelgade and will include free drinks and maybe even a bit of grub.

Above all else it’s going to be a celebration of everyone who’s been imported in to Denmark for whatever reason. I want to show the locals that we haven’t just come here to steal their jobs or scrounge off their welfare system. So many of us have something to contribute to this society we have welcomed.

After the results of last night’s election I feel this is more important than ever.

Looking forward to hearing from you all…

Pre School Nature Kindergarten – production note


My global news editorial director asked me to find some meaningful shooting themes in the happiest nation ranked Denmark for South Korean TV audience. The pre-school Kindergarten was ‘meaningful’ enough for its viewers with full of educational fever leaving Viking and SocialWelfare System aside. I was follwing up an ordinary day in Nature Kindergarten in Odense.


Odense, 8: 40 am

9 :00  leaving for the nature kindergarden

9: 30 nature kindergarten, outskirt of Odense city

image source : Korean Broadcasting System KBS