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Meeting the Queen with a 'Moment of Zen'

8 years ago

Threin Offossen won 2nd Place in the 2015 National Award competition. Living in Nakskov, a small town in Denmark, she a teacher of Gymnastics and Qi Gong for many years.

She has been enjoying photography for the past three years, following in the footsteps of her late uncle, who was also an amateur photographer, but since her recognition in the National Awards she has become more dedicated to photography.

Her image ‘Moment of Zen’  is now hanging permanently in the town hall of Lolland, Denmark, and earlier this month she presented her winning image to Queen Margrethe, Queen of Denmark.


Hi Threin, please tell us about your image ‘Moment of Zen’

I took the picture in February 2014, it was early evening, around 6 pm, winter and cold. I went to have some fresh air at the beach of my small hometown, Nakskov in Denmark. As I arrived at the beach I was struck by the atmosphere, I ran as if in slow motion to the Jetty, very excited and though trembling with excitement I placed my camera on a type of berth I took some quick shots and that was it, I started breathing again. I knew I got a very good image, but had no idea of how far it would reach and that I was going to have an extraordinary wonderful career, but certainly it did. Many have asked: Did it really look like that? And yes it did, only adjustment of the light levels.

How do you feel coming second in the National Awards has helped your career?

Not only has my own career has been helped by the award. It is a long and beautiful story in different levels.

Soon after coming 2nd in the National Awards, I was called to the local Town Hall in my municipality, Lolland in Denmark, to get a handshake from the mayor, Holger Schou Rasmussen and the whole City council. They bought the picture and now it is hanging permanently in the executive office at the Town Hall.

A lot of exposure in newspapers and television followed right after, both locally and and nationwide. On top of it all I had the great honour on June 1st, 2016, to give the picture to our Queen of Denmark, Her Royal Majesty Queen Margrethe as her official gift during her visit in Lolland Municipality.

What all this exposure has meant to me as a photographer is massive. However more important is the influence it has had and is still having for our local region and my hometown, Nakskov. As a quite poor part of Denmark, Lolland is often exposed in the national press as a scapegoat for all the negative side of the decay in our society in Denmark. Although Lolland has so many positive stories to tell it seems as if it is always the darker sides which are highlighted when social issues are discussed in Denmark, which is quite unfair and very difficult to change. Simultaneously with my winning picture, national TV2 started broadcasting a series of programmes exposing different people and families with social problems and showing only the poor parts of Nakskov. Press like this has happened many times before, people here have just had enough and started fighting back. With this ranking in SWPA and all the subsequent attention it has been a driving force to help change this negative attitude. The picture has in a way helped people to be proud of our region and lifted the confidence of own worth and the qualities we can offer to the rest of Denmark. Soon after other local people, main figure Kirsten Sydendal, created a new wave called 'Lovestorm' and this wave is still rolling and lifting up spirits in Lolland and our sister island Falster. In Lovestorm we only share all the good stories, this has made an immense change in our self-perception.

Since becoming second in National Awards I have had a great jump in my photography career. The picture has been shown almost everywhere locally. From the local phonebook front page, to in an art magazine, articles, interviews and television locally and nationally attention keeps continuing. As a result I am often asked to participate in photo projects of different kind, thus helping me to get experience not only in photographing nature, but also other kinds of settings like portraits, cityscapes and much more.

The award has been a quantum leap for my career.


Meeting Queen Margrethe of Denmark! How was that experience?

That's right, who would have imagined that! But thanks to the mayor of Lolland county in Denmark, I had the great honour to hand over 'Moment of Zen' to her majesty Queen of Denmark in June this year. The picture was the official gift for her majesty on behalf of Lolland County. It happened during her visit to Nakskov, where we this year celebrate our 750th town jubilee. As a part of a committee including our local nature guide Klaus Bek Nielsen, our local Lovestorm (a local initiative that promote and spread the positive word of our outskirts of Denmark)  spokeswoman, Kirsten Sydendal and the artist couple Randi and Katrine,  welcoming her at Hestehovedet Strand (Horsehead Beach).

No matter with your relationship to the monarchy, wouldn't you be honored to meet with the Queen? Well, and said with a big smile, I was! I acknowledge her as a very fine and wise person, so I prepared months ahead, quite anxious to do my very best. The day arrived and we were ready. A lot of people came to watch including lots of press, local and national. When the Queen approached me and the picture smiling and sat down on a chair, for a second I was lost in bewilderment and had totally forgotten what I intended to tell her about the image. Fortunately words came alive and I found myself telling her about the circumstances about how I took the picture. Also about what impact it has had on the the spirit and pride of the citizens of Nakskov since it won a second place in 2015 National Awards competition, part of Sony World Photography Awards and has got so much attention far beyond our region. Much to my surprise she got up from her chair, approaching me, still smiling, reaching out for a handshake while praising and thanking for the picture  Honestly, her exact words flew in the wind, I was struck with pride.

Where do you find inspiration for your images?

Nature, especially locally around Nakskov and our small island, Lolland where I live and above all water is my favorite motive. It is something inexplicable that just make me grab the camera and stroll out at times where other people might sleep, eat or watching television. I have a need for hidden beauty.    

Where do you think your photography will take you next?

My photografic aim is to interpret what nature brings us and what a wonderful world we are living in, to show which richness we are surrounded by and convey proudness of our region for that. Though getting all this positive attention and exposure I can't imagine what will happen next. I feel very humble and for everything that continues to happen around my photography career I am just as surprised and thankful as the very first time someone told me I made a good picture. What I do hope is that my pictures in the future will bring benefit for my region Lolland and especially my hometown Nakskov, which have such a special place in my heart. Overall my aim is to show how much beauty and richness we are surrounded by, to make people happy and raise spirits in joy of our wonderful world.

Find out more about the National Awards