1/24/2015

SETTLE DOWN


Photos from a few weeks back when I was spending my weekend in Helsinki.


I'm currently writing from the depths of my bed, from the midst of sheets and tissues. I've been sick at home for a couple of days now and already feel like a prisoner. It would all be ok, I guess, if I was able to focus my concentration on school work, but feeling like crap is making that close to impossible. My mind won't operate properly and it's getting me frustrated. Especially since I have a mountain of tasks to complete relating to school, school and (you guessed it) school. A frightening amount of essays to write and more texts to read than I have time for. I just want to dig myself a tiny hole in the ground and lay there in peace and quiet until the storm is over. But, of course, the storm won't be going anywhere. I'm not prepared to completely let go of all of that. But what I will (or at least should) do, is learn not to care so much. And more importantly to prioritize. Because, as much as I hate to admit it, I've noticed lately that I'm not as happy as I used to be. The stress is clearly wearing me down, which in turn makes me unmotivated. It's not that I don't like school, it's just that it's gotten to the point when it's too much. Being a perfectionist, I have to face the fact that I can't be good at everything, and certainly don't have to be. I need to just take a step back and settle down.

        In this period I have this course about Shakespeare, and before class starts we usually jokingly pose the question "To go or not to go?". Our teacher is great and all but I'm slowly but surely starting to regret picking that course. I quite honestly have no idea what I have to say about Shakespeare in the 10-page essay I'm due to write at the end of the course. I would say short and concise are words that describe my writing, so... Lord give me strength. Hope you guys are doing better than I am! And one last thing. I'm really excited to hear new tunes from Purity Ring again! I warmly recommend all of you to check out "Begin Again" (below)!


  

1/18/2015

KÄRT & ELINA


Photographer: Sara Lehtomaa
Models: Kärt & Elina @ FashionTeam
MUAH: Timo Vuorimies
Styling: Sara Lehtomaa


Some portraits I took for FashionTeam of two of their new models, Kärt and Elina. We headed down to Aboa Vetus, a museum here in Turku, and shot some pretty awesome stuff among the remains and ruins of medieval times (and in the midst of a herd of Russian tourists for that matter). I also had a wonderful time getting to know the girls. Meeting new people is always intriguing. Reading what kind of person they are from the way they present themselves, guessing whether it's a charade or what they are actually like. My boyfriend claims he can see from a persons eyes whether they're "real" or disguising their true self with something else. I wonder whether that's possible (in some cases perhaps but I doubt it would work all the time). I myself can't say I can do that just by looking at a person in the eye. If only. But I would say I'm pretty good at reading a person based on a fairly short conversation, the way they move, speak, their facial expressions, giving off what they're all about. But I guess that's just a matter of paying attention really. Sometimes, though, undoubtedly, even my mind can do tricks. In the end you can never be entirely sure of a stranger. It's kind of scary really. I'm the type of person who likes to believe the best of people, which I admit sometimes isn't too rational a thing to do (speaking from experience, it has indeed several times driven me into rather unpleasant situations).

1/07/2015

THE COLDEST OF SEASONS


Photographer: Sara Lehtomaa
Model: Meri / FashionTeam
Makeup & Styling: Sara Lehtomaa


This series is a reflection of the coldest of seasons. One that we are currently experiencing up north here in Finland. With the infinitely gray sky hiding behind it our life force, a great wave of depression washes over the whole population, a phenomenon we call kaamosmasennus in Finnish. Thanks to it, at times we may feel like simply sinking into hibernation. Especially since the Finnish winter occupies most of the year. Gloominess and sadness lives within many of us, getting a chance to take over whenever we aren't subduing it with things that bring joy to our lives. The smoke represents that joy temporarily leaving, and the fabrics wrapping the model are the mantle of gloom beating us to the ground holding us down, most of the time defeating our resistance.

        Ok, I may be slightly overdramatizing the subject but this temporary depression caused by winter is very real. The freezing cold, the lack of sunlight and people staying inside avoiding to face these things (and hence a decline in socializing to some extent) are real. And when overdosed they don't exactly have a positive effect on the human psyche. But like everything in this world, this issue isn't black and white. One of the good things about having to endure these things is the huge appreciation of summer that one gains with it. The excitement and amount of enjoyment that one experiences after six months of hell (as I like to put it) is really unexplainable. One of the reasons why I actually like living in a country with all four seasons. It's just that when you're on the third month and halfway through the misery, you can't help but wish that it was just a little bit shorter.


1/04/2015

BEYOND KNOWLEDGE


A photo from a couple of years back of my boyfriend's great grandmother (which is completely unrelated to the text below).


One week ago I met a person who was coming close to his last moments. It was my first (at least that I know of) encounter with a soul that is readying itself to depart to whatever it is that awaits it in the life beyond the one we know of. That person was my grandfather. I had never really gotten to know him all that well, and merely the thought of visiting him in that state made me feel uneasy. Maybe because I was afraid I wouldn't know how to act adequately. How was I supposed to show a person I barely knew that I cared, that I felt sympathy for him and that I wanted to be supportive. I just didn't have a clue how to covey any of it. I felt helpless. And in some way I felt it wasn't justified for me to be there in the first place. What had I ever done for him? Nothing really. I felt bad. But at the same time I knew I had no reason to feel guilt. He wasn't the kind of person who had actively been around his grandchildren, but was spending much of his time alone, as far as I knew. I feel the need to be very careful when writing about him, choosing my words with great caution. After all I didn't really know him. This is merely my own experience. So keep that in mind while reading.

        We were driving down a slippery road to a slightly more remote place than I had expected. Mom was sitting in front of me in the passengers seat and dad was driving the car. I felt a tension slowly building up in me as we were approaching the building. The nursing home was aslo different than I had envisioned. In stead of the factorylike typical hospital building, before me stood a very low house not at all intimidating but inviting, out in the cold December morning. I waited for mom and dad and then walked together with them from the small parking lot to the main door and stepped through it into the building. The warmth hit my face immediately. We walked down the hall into an area which was probably meant for socializing. There were tables, a smaller side table serving coffee and other goodies and a TV in the corner. There were Christmas decorations all over the place and it felt cozy. But there was this weird smell. I can't even describe it, but that was the only thing about that place that I found unpleasant.

        Someone was standing behind a glazed counter, welcoming us and asking who we were visiting. Mom did the talking and we continued our way walking down another hall. At our right, attached to a door was a small piece of paper on which his name was written. I really didn't know what to say. I stuck to a "hi" as we entered the room. I couldn't help but noticing how different he looked, skinnier and paler than usual, and I tried not to look as if I was goggling too much. I'm pretty sure most people in that situation would want to be treated normally, or anyway as normal as one can act in those circumstances. I can imagine how much it must suck to spend the end of your time around people constantly reminding you of how much it hurts. If I ever find myself in that position (that is if I don't die a quick and sudden death) I wouldn't want the people I love to concentrate solely on the pain. But I'd neither want them to deny the fact that our time together on Earth is over. Surely it's not easy, but I believe one should be there, completely present, and not start mourning while the person about to leave is still alive. Of course right now I have no idea how it will feel like once I'm in that position. Not yet. I can't imagine it. All I know for sure is that if I were to leave at this age I would be very sad. I like this world we live in, and I feel like there's so much to live for and that I still want to experience a countless amount of things. I don't know what happens after my body is dead, but so far I've (most of the time) enjoyed myself and have liked being a human, and wouldn't want it to end quite yet. But once you've lived for many years. How will that be like? Obviously it completely depends on the person. There are so many unique experiences of life. One may feel fulfilled, another eager to end the misery. But if one is suffering from great physical pain caused by the old age that may alone be a reason to hurry the process. In the end, it all depends on the fact of whether you've accepted death or not. At that moment I would've wanted to ask him what he feels like, but I couldn't. I didn't know him well enough. I didn't know what he would feel about such a conversation. 

        Keeping quiet, sitting in a corner, merely as an observer watching my mother and father making conversation, I felt out of place (I wasn't really sure whether he wanted me there or not). I noticed there was something different about my mothers voice as she was speaking to him, a sort of melancholic tone to it. After all it was her father. Dad tried his best to keep up a cheery atmosphere by chatting about sports, technology and multiple other things that would be considered casual topics, but failed. The moody ambiance had taken over the room completely. There were long bits of silence between conversation. I felt a lump in my throat growing and noticed my eyes were watering. The corner of my mouth started twitching and I hid my face by turning it away, supposedly looking out of the window beside me. I forced myself to think of something else and managed to get my reaction under control. This was weird, I thought. Of course, it was sad to see anyone in that shape. But why did I react so strongly when I wasn't even close to him? Then I realized that I was thinking about my mother and imagining what she felt like. I remembered what it'd been like when her mother had died. It was many years ago, when I was a kid, but I remembered clearly that moment when she had found out. A phone call in the middle of the night. We were living in Sweden at that time and my aunt living in Finland had conveyed the message. I remembered her loud crying, and myself crying with her.

        I did speak with him later on, but very shortly. I told him what was going on in my life at the moment and he listened, reacting only with nods and vague sounds. He could barely speak, any voice formation requiring a great amount of effort. Even as I hadn't directly asked him about his feelings concerning the situation I could tell he seemed to have accepted the fact that it was time to leave, that he didn't fear. Of course, the fact that he had turned down the treatments for his lung cancer, alone indicated that he didn't see any point in staying and enduring, that he was ready.

        With no definite answer to one of the greatest questions of mankind there is really no point in spending your life fearing. Fearing something that is unknown. Be it the blazes of hell or your body mouldering in the ground, your energy releasing into the atmosphere, it's inevitable. A natural part of life. Our ability to attach ourselves to other people, to in a sense become part of them, makes it hard to accept what's natural. But you might want to think of it this way: that person will really exist as long as you do, because he or she lives on in your mind. Your own perception of that person goes nowhere. Even as it may feel like one, death is not a tragedy, it's just one part of the cycle of life. But sometimes it shocks us by arriving unexpectedly early, when we haven't gotten used to the thought. And a sudden death involving an accident of some sort may feel especially unjust. Unfair. But life is the result of natural processes and pure chance, whether we like it or not. And we should learn to accept that fact, not letting it affect our lives in negative ways too much. Besides, who knows, maybe there's something as equally exciting waiting for us beyond our human lives.