Micke Berg -
I became a parent late in life, at the age of 39. First I had a daughter, then a son a few years later. My children are definitely the best thing that has happened in my life. Children fill life with expectations and playfulness: sadness and exhaustion some times, of course, but mostly joy - soul-lifting, lifeaffirming joy.
I live in modern world, a world where relationships aren't accorded much importance. There are ten good reasons to divorce, perhaps one to marry. I, of course, am divorced: I have children with two different woman. Two good women, mothers who together with me help provide a sense of order in our children's lives.
My children live the 'alternate weeks' life pattern. They seem to cope well with it, although longing for mummy or daddy is a part and parcel of their daily experience. And let's face it, somewhere in there is a real sadness.
When I started to look around me I soon discovered that most of my friends lived in same way - week-on, week-off parenting. I was seized by a desire to find out how the children of today live in a city such as Stockholm.
In 1995 I began taking pictures of children in the city. I visited parks, walked the roads and back streets in search of children. The first thing I discovered is that the children of today play in custom-built play areas, supervised by day-care and recreation centre staff. Playing wild in the back garden is a mirage from the past.
After a while I established contact with the staff at Fröhuset recreation centre. These wonderful and highly competent people guided me into their children's world. I also accompanied those same children to their school - Södermalmskolan - where they attend two classes.
I was with these children for two years: a brilliant time when I was known by the nickname the 'Camera Man'. What I saw was hard - really hardworking - staff at both the recreation centre and school. I also witnessed the wearing down and exhausting that comes with bearing heavy responsibilities and having too much to do.
Despite this I feel really privileged to have met these children. To have felt their warm hands creeping into mine without warning: or the revelation of trust when someone called out for the 'Camera Man' to sort out a quarrel, put a plaster on a cut, take someone's photo...
Stockholm 1997 Micke Berg