Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Beatles - And I Love Her

the beatles- girl

Flying and blood

Morningsky is a music video. There were pictures and there was music, and then they were put together - so both had different origins. I was flying with my eldest son on a little 2 seater Cessna in the beginning of september and took some footage above Helsinki and the coastline to west. It was a beautiful day and some is pretty tidy =D!

And later in the autumn we had a class in school making a video - Fucking virgin Maria! - and some of the girls wanted to make a scene with blood. Maybe they had seen the IT'S MY LIFE! done with Saara and thought it exiting. So I made up the scene of a girl and doll. It was made in the showers of school with some spot lights and 1/2 litres of blood. The dark girl in white has a big plastic bag under the nightgown and not even all the blood was used!

Towards the end  there are pictures of stone angels, that I have taken in the 70's at Hietaniemi graveyard in Helsinki. They came to mind while I was editing our little episode. And the graves are of soldiers that died in the beginning of 1900.  The flowing water and those silent old graves with a slight frost on them felt to be quite right in the end.

There is a sequence 'washroom: how it was made', that I did for the girls as a memento...


Friends had a band...

Why beauty is boring?

The music is the same as in 'a moment' and the girl is the same - here she just is some five years older. We took some photos and she wanted to try something like dancing on the field and so... The shining object is moon - it shows very bright somehow, but moon it is! It was rather cold, just some centigrades above zero.

The name - I just find beauty boring, harmony distressing, just like grave disharmony, too. Just too much of something is, well, too much!

Why beauty is boring?

a moment

It started maybe so that I had some pictures and an idea, and he had some strips of music... os maybe he gave me the music and I got ideas  of pictures? Anyhow that was how this was born... 'Forever gone' - I think we all have an experience  when we realize that something is gone, passed and shall never be again, at least when someone dies. My eldest son came to me when he was nine and had a mandarine in his hand: Mom, see how this bit is perfect, all cells and juice and taste, and (he ate it) now it is gone and shall never be again! It was his perception!

Somehow this 'music video' mixes mystical elements to everyday, like the girl in the woods, and the black cat, and the fire, but the reason is just to play with pictures and meanings... white flower... And that is the way of all!

At that time - or rather before I had also been playing with photoshop and effects, and I used some pictures with numerous different colorings and other effects  - the staircase with the window in more and less color, with swans and without, and the eye changing coloring...

a moment

Old photos - little tales

Both of these short pieces are made of old photos and some music from my friend. The Old Shoemaker did work on Sniperstreet 1977 and I made a photo reportage of him then. Black and white negatives were still in my boxes and as I had some new photos of the same spot I thought 'why not?' Toivo Laakso was a remarkable old man, kind and so peaceful that surely he was worth a little memoir...

The quality of photos is not good but I think that in this kind of work it's not important, on the contrary: shining and glamorous pics would be pretty much out of place!

And the other one, a walk in Tallinna on a saturday morning 1998: me and the boys then 8 and 10 years. I had last visited Tallinna 1975 while working on Ilmatar for Matkayhtymä, travelling agency, that made so called 'vodka cruises', the ship was on international waters for 24 hours and the passengers could buy alcohol tax free. It was a horror story and the city of Tallinn was grey and miserable. 1998 everything had changed and Tallinn was a lively growing modern city with a lot happening everywhere!

Our walk took place in the old Tallinn, where repairs and restoring was done, and also new houses erected, I still had my film camera, Olympus OM-2, and shot maybe six or seven rolls of slides. In the original slides the quality is good, but as these are scanned with a kind of mirror prism... so and so, why to explain something everyone can see! Again I think it is the feeling, atmosphere, that is important, not the shine! It is an idyllic medieval town we see in pictures!

The Old Shoemaker 1977

Tallinna 1998 - old slides

Friday, October 21, 2011

How it was made: Remembrance

My eldest son was born 1978 and when he 2008 had 30th birthday I made this cavalcade of old photographs as a present to him. Cinematically there is nothing of importance in this nine minute piece, but the interest lies in the pictures and their history.

I got my first camera on my seventh birthday, I think, or maybe it was the christmas before - yes, so it must have been because the first pictures are of the snowy yard and garage! So I was just six. My father was a keen and exploring photographer, who in the 50's developed his own films and photos. I have hundreds, maybe thousands  of his negatives still in my keeping. So I started: ordinary pictures of friends on the yard or skiing, stray dogs fighting on the road, my little brother posing here and there... The camera was one of the first instamatics so I did not need an exposure meter. Actually I did use the camera a lot in different situations and got used to carry it with me. Yet there are no pictures of our houses or my grandparent's houses, which is regrettable. I did concentrate on people.

My first single lens reflex camera I bought in the beginning of 70's. I remember pondering the choice with my two years younger brother, agreeing and disagreeing, and finally he bought a Konica and I chose Olympus OM-1. My reasons were simple: it was smaller and lighter, had great optics and was not automatic. It had an inbuilt exposure meter but I chose the time and aperture. I did not like automatics as my brother did.

Actually I chose well. The pictures  my brother took during first years are as good as mine, but then they start to deteriorate - I think the lens did not function so well any more. And the same I discovered when a friend of mine scanned his slides together with mine - he had had a Pentax SLR in 70's and also his pics were not so sharp and clear as mine. Again I thanked the Zuiko lenses.

During the years I acquired two other similar bodies of OM-1 and several objectives with focal lengths ranging from 50 to 200. I did not like wide angle effects so I never got a shorter than 35 objective. And then I had a series of extension rings for close-ups of insects and plants. They were quite useful and the real macro-objectives were just far above my budgets.

I developed the bw films myself using mainly Tri-x of Kodak and the similar product of AGFA. The film was sold in reels of 150 m and you could self wind it on smaller rolls - that was cheap! And I also made the pictures - mainly in different bathrooms of different apartments. It was quite messy and the photos had hairs and dust  on then  - but at least I did take them! I also used some film for slides, but as you could not make anything yourself it was more expensive and --- I did like the beautiful colors on the transparent material...

These pictures have been scanned from slides with a Nikon negative scanner - the friend with Pentax owns this scanner and together we have gone through a small amount of old slides scanning them and making some correction where correction are needed...  Yes indeed. In the seventies and beginning of eighties Fuji had a slide film, that had development included in the price of the roll: you just paid one time! And it was cheaper than Kodacrome or Ektacrome  or Agfa! And it had nice colors... I did use a lot of Agfa and those slides had kept well, preserved their colors! As had also Kodak's material. But that Fuji... somehow the green of those slides had turned to emerald - a turquoise green strikingly non-natural in pictures taken from green nature! And there were a lot of green in all my pics! So I had to correct the colors. Unfortunately changing that emerald affected also to other colors and so the correction in some slides works well and in some does not. Can't help - nothing is perfect! =D

Most of the photos have been taken with the Olympus, but some with varying little pocket instamatics that I used to carry in my bag. Always some camera with me! And some had really small negatives - one, I think had a nega sized 2x1 cm so not every frame is sharp and clear, but as the idea was to conway the feeling and atmosphere it is not so dangerous! I hope =D !

These photos have been taken on our rented summer home, a little old house made of timber! We stayed there of and on during summers from 1979 to 1985. It was a silent little place for exploring nature and dreaming, and I don't think he was bored even if there were no other children. He found so many ways to amuse himself and to play alone with simple things like branches and old rusty ovens...

So all these slides and negatives I brought to the final cut timeline and edited to Remembrance. I have always been very fond of cross-dissolving  and here I just let go! Smile and enjoy!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

How It Was Made: Black River, Bleeding Heart

Behind small things there often are long stories... I was six in 1960 when my family moved north to Kemi, a little town by the northern shore of Gulf of Bothnia. My father, a B.Sc engineer,  was working as a process developing manager in the pulp factory. A year later I started school and we moved to the island where the factory was, Veitsiluoto. My school was on another island, Rytikari, where there were also shops and a library.

There I for the first time came to know different homes, different social classes and saw poverty and bitterness while visiting my classmates in their homes: poor farmers with a few cows, small houses with no central heating and toilet, workers lodgings - many small apartments in big buildings with no privacy. In the school we had latrines outside in long buildings by the beach - one side for girls and another for boys. And there were rats... But as I was a child I felt no prejudice or disgust or fear, just wonderful curiosity! And a kind of envy... because even though the families were poor and lived in lousy conditions there was warmth and a feeling of closeness that for me was completely strange. We had always had big houses and fine toilets and a car and everything, but no closeness.

Then came the time when some of my friends in school 'disappeared' and later came letters from Sweden with pictures of them wearing gorgeous dresses and earrings! Maybe the earrings were the greatest mark of the gap dividing us then: no-one in Rytikari or Veitsiluoto had earrings! I had ballet classes in Kemi and never dared to tell anyone. My mother went to draw naked models and once she told me that a brother of my best school friend was modeling there, a really beautiful boy. I never mentioned it to my friend.

There were also different areas, where the workers had their tenement houses - Petsamo, and we our big wooden villas, Aunus. Sometimes we had to run while passing Petsamo, because the bigger boys liked to beat us rich kids. There was hate and bitterness, even violence... but that is another story. The important was the poverty, people leaving for Sweden after better bread and the abandoned houses with sad dark windows.

Then 2004 I think it was - I had a funeral in Vaala, east of Kemi but fairly north too. I drove there on a summer morning and did not pay attention to the scenery because of my hurry. And then I drove back late in the night and as it was summer the sun remained near horizon and it was beautifully light. I stopped by the lake Oulunjärvi, wide like a sea, and the continued slowly south. Along the narrow and winding road there were small fields, endless marshes and bogs and those farmhouses with empty dark window. Big beautiful houses by little black and winding rivers... I felt the hairs raise in my back and a deep agony squeeze my heart. The memory came back like a flood! Many times I stopped the car and looked those houses and yards left long ago, houses that still stood with hanging windowsills and broken roofs...

In september I drove back with a former student and friend Eero, and we found the place I had kind of marked that night. There were three houses by the road, two on the other side and one on the other, all empty, and we chose one to take photographs of. The house was in fairly good condition, and it seemed that people had left like suddenly, leaving everything, furniture and lamps, everything, and no-one ever looked back. Of course I had spun a story of a boy who comes from Stockholm to see the home of his great grand parents, him being a third generation immigrant. Maybe dreaming of a forge there in the old house and a new life...  Well, that never became anything.

Then I did some screen tests with another friend, Hanna, on a very hot summer day. And again time passed... Then one day I felt a need to do something, anything and this idea of still pictures mixed with moving sequences came to my mind. And I did built a timeline in final cut of those photos and the test shoots. With yellow tulips... I tried to make it look like they were gazing each other through time and space maybe seeing something, maybe missing the other.  In this case it is the boy that wants to change things and the girl who wants to be tidy and static. The boy wants to wander to new realms and build his life there. The girl is in the grip of the moment and can't get scope. So she gets depressed and drowns herself. And the boy goes on.

So the timeline was ready - but I had no sound. Then I met some other former students of mine and they told they had a band and had made some pieces of music. Jari, the composer, played them to me and this one was exactly the same length as my picture line. Somehow it seemed like meant and when even the words seemed to fit I just placed the bit of music beneath the pictures and that was it!

The single pictures with faded surface in the beginning are another story: they are prints on silk paper glued to old planks with cellulose lack...

So I give you:

Black River, Bleeding Heart