Moved from New York to Frinnaryd

Dean and Zandra with their daughter Amelie outside their home. The only one who still hasn’t gotten used to country life is their big city cat Mumu who rarely goes further than five meters from the house.


Dean Cox and Zandra Knutsson lived in Brooklyn, New York, from 1997 to 2004. Both worked in Manhattan, Dean as a photographer and editor and Zandra as a graphic designer. About two years ago they bought their dreamhouse in Fridhem, located approximately 1 kilometer from Frinnaryd.

During 2002 and 2003 Dean worked in Prague and it was right after that time the couple ”test lived” in Zandra’s grandparents’ old summer farm estate. It turned out they really liked it, and in July 2004 they bought the house.

April 19 this year Dean visited an old orphanage outside of the town Vesnova, 200 kilometers south of Minsk. There he took a series of hearbreaking pictures of the disabled kids. Here is one girl among the other160 kids that are left there to die.
(Copyright: Dean Cox)

Work from home thanks to broadband connection
Both work from home, but from the beginning there was no high speed internet access, which made it really hard for both of them to do their jobs. But at the end of December 2004 they were finally able to receive broadband. They now have 2Mb, which is enough speed for both of them to transfer pictures/art to clients in the U.S.

A peaceful life is worth a lot
”Here it is quiet and calm in contrast to the busy life in New York. The things we do miss though, are our friends and all the wonderful restaurants. It’s wonderful here”, says Dean. The summers are of course much better than the long winters. But even winter has its charm. For example walking in crisp, fresh snow, watching the sparkeling northern lights and warming up by the fireplace. ”Another advantage living here is that it’s closer to central and eastern Europe, which is where I have most of my traveling assignments”.
”Our daughter Amelie, now 1 1/2 years old, probably has it better here too, because we would never have been able to stay home with her as long in New York as we are able to here in Sweden”.

The cat Mumu came along with them from Brooklyn
The only one who has not gotten used to country life is the big city cat Mumu. He rarely goes farther than 5 meters from the house! Zandra says that when they came back to Brookyn after living in Prague for one year, Mumu had already moved into their backyard. So we took care of him and decided to adopt him.”

Painting has been an interest of Zandra for several years and a few pieces are hanging on the walls at home. This one she painted in 1996.

Got married twice
Dean who was brought up both in Germany and Alabama, U.S., and Zandra who is brought up in Huskvarna met in Tampa, Florida, while he was studing journalism and she was working as an au pair.
– Meeting Dean made me want to stay longer in Florida so I started studying graphic design. We lived in Florida from 1993 until 1997. After that we moved to New York, which is where we got marrid in the courthouse. The year after we had a church wedding in Visingsö, Sweden.
Zandra still works with her clients from New York, mostly designing direct mail pieces. Zandra also has enjoyed painting for several years, and a few of her pretty creations are hanging on the walls in their house in Fridhem.
Neither Dean nor Zandra would mind showing off some of their work in a gallery in Aneby or Tranås.
– The thought is tempting and I have many themes, but it would be very expensive to make large prints of the pictures, says Dean.

Hurt kids from Chernobyl kept hidden.
Dean works as a freelance photographer with clients such as the New York Times and EurasiaNet. Assignments have taken him as far as Mongolia. He also sometimes sells photos through a photo agency called World Picture News.
This spring Dean went to Belarus for six weeks and documented the election and the election protests. Thereafter he traveled to the southern parts of Belarus to a Chernobyl damaged area in connection to the 20-year anniversary. The towns that were evacuated are now empty and abandoned.
April 19 he visited an old orphanage outside the town of Vesnova, 200 kilometers south of Minsk. There he took a series a of heartbreaking pictures. At the orphanage there were 160 boys and girls between 3 and 18 years of age that were mentally and physically disabled.
The goverment in Belarus says that it can not be scientifically proven that there is a connection between the Chernobyl accident in 1986 and the disabled children born after. But they do acknowledge officially that since then there has been a 250 percent increase of mentally and physically handicapped newborn babies.

International photoconvention
On Sunday Dean is off to the 18th international photojournalist convention in Perpignan, France. During two weeks between September 2 and 17 more than 2,000 photographers and more than 1,000 photo editors gather from all over the world.


Text and photo: Bevan Berthelsen

Zandra´s portfolio

Dean´s portfolio

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Frinnaryd in the north of Småland


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