Photos and Words

Every day is different

Posts tagged ‘my photos’

The day after

We need bridges between people and communities

After watching the images from Washington and the storming of the Capitol, I do not know what to write.

What comes to my mind are the empty space, the frozen lake, the forest and nature I was in in the beginning of this week. Oblivious to the madness we are witnessing

Warm lights

Warm lights

I took my camera for this trip. Even though I have been here many times before you never know.

The lights from inside the cottage gave a warm atmosphere. It was just about 5 pm and pitch dark. The temperature had dropped and the snow had turned more icy.

I never saw the cottage in this light.

Countryside walk

Today in Kitee: sunrise at 8:27am – sunset at 16:15. Cloudy. -6C.

Less than 8 hours of day light. Better to put some warm clothes on go for the 7km walk around the village and hamlets of Niinikumppu, in the countryside not far from Kitee.

The temperature has lowered since yesterday and you can hear the sound of the dry snow crunching under the sole of the boots. The countryside road is fully covered by snow with signs of the tiers of the cars that passed during the day. On the side of the road, where the snow is more soft, there are footprints of a couple walking their dog. We pass few empty homes. No lights inside. Cars or vans parked in the yard covered by snow. One house has a flag pole with the thin and long flag of this region, Karelia, hanging on the top and moving in slow waves. These are countryside house. All in wood. Mostly painted in dark red. The frames of the doors and windows in painted in white.

These houses seem hibernating and I ask myself where the owners are. Have they left just for the holidays? Have they moved elsewhere duchin the winter? Have they moved for good?

This is not my first walk around here. I have passed by these houses during the spring, the summer, the winter. These houses are well kept but they seem often empty. I try to imagine how it is to live here, in the countryside of Eastern Finland. 8 km form the main road. 15 km from Kitee, which is a small town. What do people do? How do they earn their living? Some may own fields and plant barley and other crops in the spring and summer. But the winter is quite long and farms tend to be pretty small. Some may own forest and would sell timber. But it takes years for seeding to become trees that are worth selling. What do they do in the meantime.

As I am writing this, I opened the AdminStat site and looked at the demographic data of the Municipality of Kitee. On 1. January 2017, the population was 10.719. The net birthrate for that year was -95. The net migration rate was -138. The population on 31. December of 2017 has decreased by 233 down to 10.486. That was in line with previous years when the population of Kitee on average decreased by 1,4%.

The largest age group in the municipality is the 55-64 which accounted in 2017 for 19,865 of the population. The people in the age groups from 55 and above account for 52,46% of the population. This means that the young people leave the municipality and the population here is getting older.

What will be the future of municipalities like Kitee in the 21st century, I wondered during my walk today. i have been coming here regularly for the past 20 years. How will the houses I saw today look like 20 -40 years from now. Will they still be inhabited? Will they still be there? Will they be look run down and abandoned? Will there be young families living here?

Countryside, Niinikumppu (Eastern Finland)

Countryside house, Niinikumppu (Eastern Finland)
Top of the hill, Niinikumppu (Eastern Finland)

Winter landscape in Niinikumpu / 7

Farmhouse, Niinikumpu (Kitee)
Wooden barn, Niinikumpu (Kitee)
Birch trees, Niinikumpu (Kitee)

The weather is changing. It is getting colder. The forecast for after tomorrow gives heavy snow.

At least one photo a day

Winter landscape in Niinikumpu / 1

Snowy landscape. Niinikumpu, Kitee (Eastern Finland)
Niinikumpu, Kitee (Eastern Finland)

There is a strange foggy weather which is not common in this part of Finland. I ma in Karelia. There is snow on the ground but the temperature is mild. The houses are far from each other here in the countryside. I walk the 6km of the loop around the hill and see only a few cars passing by. The days are short and nature is on pause until the early signs of spring in March.

At least one photo a day

Winter wonderland series / 8

The barn, 2019

The wind was blowing strong the day we took this walk. The radio and the weather apps where informing about this big snow storm coming which would touch more than half of Finland. People were advised to stay in for the night and the early hours of the following day. We had few hours of light and went for a walk in the countryside. The light was grey. The wind was carrying dry snow which made the air seems a bit foggy. It was not possible to take a tack sharp picture. The road followed the up and downs of the fields and its sides were one with the field nearby. The ditch that usually separates this road from the fields had disappeared under the snow. Then we saw this barn near a farm. People live here. Farmers own this land. I stopped for a second in the middle of the road. Listen to the wind. I thought about the life of those living here. How do these farmers cope with the long winter? How do they manage their farm and income? How far do their kids have to go to get to school? What do they think when they look outside the windows of their homes? I took this photograph as the cold wind from the east was taking my thoughts away with it. I put my hand in the pockets of my jacket to warm them and walked back to the cottage facing the wind.

Lahti railway station

An unassuming railway station where the long distance trains which run north-south-north stop to let passengers catch the trains that run to the east. Now that it is winter, passengers seem unsure whether to wait for their next train on the platform or taking refuge, if only for few minutes, in the station building next to the ticket counters and the café.

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Outside on the platform, people are waiting their next train wrapped in their thoughts. Some will soon be home. Others have a long way to go. All in that strange no-man zone which is a transit railway station.

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Halte Senayan, Jakarta

The street photography rules I have

Few days ago I posted this photo on Instagram.

File 9-6-16 16 11 46 2

 

A friend, who is following my account, then sent me a questions in the comments section: how do I deal with ethics in my street photography. Good question.

Over the years, I have been reading a lot about street photography: the beauty of black & white photography, street photography techniques, the best cameras and lenses, and, last but not least, blogs where professional and amateur street photographers wrote about their do and don’t in street photography.

One blog that I remember more vividly is the one by Lilly Schwartz . In one of her blog post she lists the rules she follows when taking photographs of strangers in the street.

During the last few days I have been re-thinking what I consider right or wrong in doing street photography.

While there is a great degree of subjectivity on which rules we apply to ourselves, I think that above those subjective rules there is (at least for me) a more universal rule which is about respect to others and of ‘not doing harm’ when taking photos of people in the streets.

The specific rules that I have for myself and which I try to follow  come under this general principle and are subjective in the sense that they are shaped and defined by the values I have been given through my education and upbringing, my own character and what I feel comfortable to do (and not to do) .

1. I never take a picture of homeless people of any age. Not even by asking them whether I can. I just do not do it. It does not feel right to me. I did it once, about 10 years ago while walking in the street of Old Delhi near the Red Fort. The moment I took the photo, I knew I was doing something wrong. I have not done it ever since.

2. I ask, whenever possible, if I can to take a photo of someone. Here in Jakarta I speak enough Bahasa Indonesia to have a chat and ask if I can take a photo. Most of the times the people I meet are happy for me taking a photo of them and showing them the result on the LCD screen. People often ask me to take their picture particularly when they are in a group. If someone says no; no problem. A smile, an apology, and all is good.

3. There are cases like the photo above where I cannot ask permission to take the photo. The man was on a bus moving quickly along a busy road in Jakarta. However, I do not feel I am stealing something. My aim is document the common everyday life of people living in cities. I am not a professional photographer and do not make money out of the photos I take. I share my photos through my blog and social media as a way to share with a larger community a moment, a split second that for a reason or another I felt was worth capturing to contribute to telling a story that is unfolding every day, every hour, every minute in a city.

4. If a person has second thoughts and ask me to delete the photo I can do it in front of their eyes showing the LCD screen. However, this is not happened to me yet.

5. I tend not to use telephoto lenses for street photography. I usually take photos with a 35mm equivalent or a 50mm equivalent lens. This means that people do notice me and it is easier to ask for permission. I would use a zoom to take a photo of a crowded place from a distant view point.

6. I only take pictures of children when they play happily or together with their parents.

Again, thank you to my friend for asking what rules I follow for my street photography which has made me to write this blog.

Dreaming the future 35/35 -35 days 35 photos 35mm

35 days 35 photos 35mm

Dreaming the future

Dreaming the future and making it happen. Jakarta is building the Mass Transport System. There will be tube stations like this one. Will there be more people and passangers that this photo? I hope so, otherwise the project will go broke pretty soon. Some people say that this massive project is too little too late and that the traffic congestion in Jakarta is so severe that it is beyond rescue. There is one way: how about giving more space to bicycle commuters? Create incentives like tax deductions, or pay back for spare parts or simply showers in office towers.

I set out to take one photo per day for 35 days using my Olympus 17mm f1.8 lens which produces an equivalent field of view of approximately 35mm. It was a project like many others. What I wanted to do was to force myself to see things I see (or better I do not see) on my way to office. I also wanted to walk in the kampung near my home in Jakarta and see what is there and how people live through  the lens of my camera. I wanted to put a target. A project with a beginning and an end. And now it has reached its end. I saw that the streets of this city are chocked by traffic. It cannot go on like this. This is paralisis. This is health hazard. This is pollution. This is not sustainable. I very few cyclists using their bicycle to go to work. Too few of them. I am one of them. There are no bicycle lanes or any other protetcion for cyclists in this crazy traffic. I saw ojek drivers whom I see every days who said: ‘Ok, you can take a photo of me.’

Thsi project forced me to look for something interesting every day for 35 days and not taking for granted the spots and people I was passing by every day. I am happy I did it. Thanks for following me!

 

Coffee morning 25/35 – 35 days 35 photos 35mm

35 days 35 photos 35mm

Coffee morning

During the month of Ramadhan it is really different to go to malls on Saturday mornings. There are few people around. The coffee places like this Starbucks are almost empty. It is a different atmosphere, like being in a different city..

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