The past year really was a Year of Radical Change in my life. To start with, my poor back finally forced me to retire after 25 years of service as a teacher of the deaf. I was forbidden to lift or carry heavy objects already in 2008 after a major back surgery. As a result, with loads of titan in my lower back, I even had to get rid of my rather heavy camera bag last summer. Canon DSLRs and lenses are great. But when you carry a backpack full of them in Finnish forests there comes a time when your back says: No More, Please! To me that moment came at the end of last May. The final kilometers back to my car were pure pure agony.
Getting rid of DSLRs also changed my photography. I can honestly say that before last May I actually had cameras as a hobby. From then on I started taking Photographs. I even noticed I had got Back to the Roots. The first camera I bought myself as a student was a second hand Praktica Super TL with a 50 mm lens. Later, during my first year as a teacher I bought an Olympus OM 2 SP with a 35 mm objective. I somehow learned to like the angle of view those lenses gave. Now my new Fujifilm X100 and X-Pro 1 with its XF35mmF1.4 R lens give me that same old feeling of photography I thought I had lost and forgotten.
Those who have followed my postings have noticed my photographs are now in two groups: black & white and color. The remaining color photos are mainly from my old camera oriented period. I'm little by little having thoughts of removing them totally. The newer black & white photos are a part of my project ‘Finland’ or ‘Finland As I See It’. First I thought I could be bold enough to name this project ‘The Finns’ but then again I'm not a new incarnation of Robert Frank. When I got rid of my DSLRs I somehow remembered I had always wanted to portray the Finnish reality as I see it. Now this urge has become so overwhelming I cannot help it. I have been taking pictures all autumn in Kuopio, Vantaa, Helsinki and in my hometown Mikkeli. I'm now working with this autumn harvest and the result can be seen in my b&w album in the near future. Before that I will talk about these pictures with two real experts who have helped and encouraged me since last October.
The meek shall inherit the world. This leads to the fact my photographs won’t be flashy or trendy. I find the darker shades of life much more interesting. Let the picture below be an example of this. I was Christmas shopping in a local mall when I noticed this gentleman in deep thoughts. The portrait of a young hooded boy you see first when you come to my home site in Jan. 2013 was also taken in Mikkeli in early November.