Category Archives: photography

Mental image bank

Almond trees

When I had visited Henri Cartier-Bresson’s retrospective exhibition at Ateneum in Helsinki a while ago, I was inspired by his concept of decisive moment and enthusiastic to write about my way of working by seeking decisive moment and building up a mental image bank.

I often walk and explore places and destinations and deliberately avoid taking pictures. Instead of sketching with my camera, I collect mental images, ideas, notions and sketch images in my mind. Many times I find almost ideal moment or subject, but if something is missing I let the image simmer in my mind and wait for the opportune moment and conditions. Sometimes I find myself regretting and fearing that I have lost an unique opportunity, thinking that I should have taken the photo and worked with the material at hand. But quite often, however, I realize that what I have been searching and waiting for will eventually come across and it is almost asking to be photographed. These are my decisive moments and the moments I find myself smiling to the world. Often the planned photograph doesn’t appear when you expect or where you expect nor quite the same way as you were expecting, but this only makes things more exhilarating and surprising.

Photos are from Spain in November 2013. I had traveled in Spain several times before and all these times I had been fascinated by the almond trees and their graphicness and dark trunks. I had been searching for dramatic silhouette and impressive clouds and patternlike landscape of almond tree orchard. Finally, in November 2013, all the pieces fell in to place, and the opportune angle of view was in front of me and the conditions were just about perfect. I had found my decisive moment, and I was able to clear one image from my mental image bank.

Under dark clouds
Almond tree under dark clouds.

Gatherers and cultivators

There are cultivators and gatherers. Many of us are more of one of them and probably most of us are little bit of both.

I myself am at first a gatherer. I love to find new places, discover new landscapes, paths and experiences. I long for travel, walks under the trees, by the river and along the sea shore. I gather experiences and flourish in seeing and feeling new things. This all comes primarily from photography. Photography makes me concentrate, look closer and search for new unseen aspects.

But as much as I long to travel, experience new places and see more, I also have a cultivator in me. Who loves an easy morning, silence and stillness. Who gets excited about nourishing and cultivating one’s own surroundings, body, mind and soul. Who enjoys the familiar and safe.

There are also a few places that will always feel like home to me. Where I belong and where I long for again and again. These are places that I could stay for and almost forget the need to find new places and experiences. These are the sea and the archipelago.

Which one are you? Are you also both?

Heart of the forest
Heart of the forest. Azores, Portugal.

Forever

Autumn at the isle of Ruissalo, Turku, Finland.

There’s something magical and unbelievably calming in old forests. It’s fascinating how some trees can live up to several hundreds or even thousands of years.

Photos are from the Isle of Ruissalo, Turku, in October 2014. Autumn colors prevailed the landscape, and the forest was preparing itself for the winter. Migratory birds had started their journey.

The forest was quiet. It had seen countless walkers and seasons, and it had changed with the time. I never got to meet my grandparents and I wondered whether they had once walked under these same trees.

I stopped in front of an old oak. I was mesmerized by its sheer size and I couldn’t estimate its age nor did I dare to take a photo out of it. I admired the tree and gazed at the top of the tree. I wondered whether it had met my grandparents. I stood still and I breathed. Maybe the forest would also remember me walking under the trees.

Part of this oak’s tranquility stays with me forever.

Autumn at the isle of Ruissalo, Turku, Finland
Magic of an old forest in autum.
Autumn at the isle of Ruissalo, Turku, Finland
Magic of autumn forest.