soulmates

Words & Images: Michael Schauer-

Whales have been my favorite animals for as long as I can remember. Ever since I was very, very little their slow and gracious movements, their seeming calmness and their otherworldly singing kept me under their spell and every time I see a video or an image of a whale, I get this curious feeling that I had when I was five years old and saw a blue whale for the first time in my life. In our home television.

From this day on, whales would become my spirit animals, as some of my friends would say, and every book, movie and documentary about whales was just inhaled by my young and insatiable mind and somehow… they became a part of me and who I am and what I photograph. I am especially fond of slow and cinematic sceneries. Sceneries that extort a subtle sense of power but power beneath the surface. Power which is collected in calmness and which radiates graciously through the landscape. Therefore, whales resonate deeply with my work and who I am as a human being as their collected and calm aura has something inspiringly stoic about it and their singing of songs cradles me in a soothing drone. Yet, at the same time, they are full of life and contagious joy when they play. I get this feeling of celebration of life and livelihood through a calm and slow catalyst and that is what I like to find in my work as well.

Iceland in September of 2017. I drove all the way up to the Eyja fjord where there is the small village Hauganes, which is about thirty kilometers north of Akureyri. In Eyjafjörður there are humpback whales, they told me, and I am determined to see them.
Twenty minutes on the vessel and the zodiac speedboats zip past us- a film crew armed with serious gear- they spotted something we did as well. Fins and spouts in the distance where the school of humpbacks surfaces to take a deep breath before going on yet another seven minute dive. We are closing in on them and the next thing I hear and smell is the explosive sound of a humpback breathing out right next to the vessel. They are almost in touching distance as if they greet us. Them and the crew surely are old acquaintances.
Kindly, the captain allows me to launch my small drone from the rear of the ship and what I see cannot be described in words. I tried but I can not find anything to justify the endless beauty and grace of whales seen from above. Only ear to ear smiles, sometimes turning into laughter, and a bright and exalted blue in my eyes.

© all pictures Michael Schauer with kind permission

More about our contributor Michael Schauer here.

Take care dear reader! Melanie Kettner

a glimpse of the world…..

Words & Images by Elmoon Iraola-

I grew up in Northern Norway in a little town named Kirkenes, which is only a few minutes away from the Finnish border. Kirkenes is surrounded by a beautiful nature and flourishing wildlife. The winter there is long, and at times harsh to be honest. The days feels shortened due to the absence of daylight. Despite this, there is a beauty in the serenity and peacefulness winter brings, unlike anything else. And let’s not forget about the northern lights, the captivating aurora borealis. Seeing the lights high above your head dancing with such grace almost makes you believe in magic. This reveals how beautiful the world truly is.

Spending my youth up in the North gave me unique experiences and treasurable memories, but this would just be the starting point, as my hunger to discover the world increased with the years and I moved to the capital city, Oslo. I was honestly curious about urban life which gave the feeling of “rush” in the daily life. Shortly after, however, I began yearning back to nature and its calmness. I firmly believe that the landscape of my hometown had a greater impact subconsciously than what I initially thought. I had sincerely developed a higher appreciation for being out in the wilderness than ever before, but my studies forced me to stay in the big city. This is the reason why I’m inspired to explore new places, in Norway and beyond.

So I decided to discover more of the vast landscapes in the West of Norway, that is known for its many fjords, and that’s for a good reason. Glaciers, the creators of the deep and captivating valleys carved out these creations through erosion over several decades. After experiencing everything from the mesmerizing fjords, the powerful Vøringsfossen and to the turquoise waters in Lovatnet, I went on to explore Lofoten and Senja in the North. Standing before the mighty Segla in Senja and the mountains in Lofoten left me in total awe. There is nothing more powerful than to stand amongst these giants. The overwhelming feeling of humbleness is almost addictive to put it mildly. Nothing makes me feel more grounded, calm and connected to nature. But the most powerful experience so far is without doubt my visit to Iceland and the Faroe Islands last year. The first visit made such an impact that I simply had to return shortly after. The raw, unique and fierce landscapes stole my heart away and left me completely speechless.

Witnessing Drangarnir in the Faroes for the first time was such a surreal moment for me. On the day of the hike it had been pouring rain all day with fog so thick that you couldn’t see much of the surroundings, and there was no stopping the wind. My friend and I concluded to venture on with extreme caution. I found the last part of the hike to be somewhat sketchy as the trail was extremely slippery. The view we were rewarded with was inarguably worth the difficult hike. Finally, seeing that place with my very own eyes was a special moment which I find challenging to describe. The emotions I was experiencing standing there before Drangarnir are inexpressible.

Another unforgettable moment which made me appreciate the blessings I’ve been given, was in Iceland:

It was early in the morning and still dark, and as we opened the door we were met with a snow blizzard. Our car for the trip was completely covered in snow and we could feel the coldness creeping in. As we drove towards our first destination, Black Sand Beach, we didn’t dare drive faster than around 40 km/h. The snow was gushing on our windshield and made it difficult to see clear of where we were driving. We drove onwards with great caution and made it to our destination safely. We sat in our car awaiting for the weather to improve, and I remember feeling discouraged about the weather conditions. Any hopes for decent shots just sank straight down. However, to my big surprise it turned out to be one of my favorite moments from that journey. The adventurous feeling of striving our way through the total whiteout was a true adrenaline rush. It made me forget about all about hectic life. There was a tranquility to this blizzard which is rare to find these days; I truly felt alive. I mean, aren’t moments just like this what life is all about? Life is easily filled up with busy schedules, and we’re always on the run. We tend to either plan days ahead and live in the future, or dwell too much in the past. Living in the present almost becomes a rare treasure. I believe we can do our bodies, souls and minds a favor by taking a pause more often and embrace the smallest beauty and goodness there is in life and nature.

As a photographer I learned that there is so much more behind the scenes than just taking a good “shot”. I´ve been given the chance to meet so many interesting people and creative minds. I´ve had the opportunity to exchange and share ideas, happiness, peacefulness and incredible moments with amazing people from all around the world – and for that I´m forever grateful.
Photography has shown me the importance of living in the present, appreciating nature and not taking life or our earth for granted, in other words, a life- changing experience, without a single doubt.

© all pictures Elmoon Iraola with kind permission

Dear readers. Hope you are all doing well! Learn more about this young contributor of our print edition  here. Take care! Melanie Kettner

vittra – the scandinavian light

Words & Images: David Hjortsberg-

Elusive.
She comes and goes as she pleases. Luring me into comfort and then ripping her beauty from under me when I least expect it. She lingers on too long and appears too suddenly, catching me off guard and full of wonder. She is a singer and a song, a painter and a canvas, a dancer and the dance itself. She transforms and restructures even in her absence. Me, and everything around.

I have been following her all of my life. Sometimes knowingly – with a childlike curiosity. Sometimes – as a silent passenger alongside her. But always with a certain fascination; however subconsious it might be. She plays a part in all my childhood memories. Setting the mood, amplifying the details, acting as the storyteller in what I am trying to recall.

When I close my eyes and think of home, of places that genuinely make me feel at peace and harmonious, she is the ultimate bearer of truth. The maternal caress. Everything she touches connects me to this place and the men and women that walked here before me. She has a certain class and grace that is unlike anything I have seen in this world.

She brings me back to the places I love, again and again, showing them to me in new ways every time. Always soft to the touch, with just enough strength and warmth to invite in new ideas to the familiar scene. She holds my hand and keeps me company, never letting me feel alone in the dense forest and the cold vast landscapes. Her presence smoothes out the sharp edges of the city and her radiance drenches out the noise of the busy soundscape.

Her fabric shapes my thoughts and my sentiment. She picks me up and she brings me down. Keeps me calm and gets me excited. Lets me reflect and look for answers to questions deep within. We are one and the same. We dance together in joy and in grieving. And when she goes into hiding for long periods of time, as do I. Only to emerge when the nights grow shorter and the days longer. She is the healer and the protector of life, and the comforter of the weak.

© all pictures David Hjortsberg with kind permission

More of this poetic essay in our print edition Vol.1!

More about David here.

Take care dear readers! Melanie Kettner

in the deep north is a place

Words & Images Linus Bergman-

In the deep north is a place. A place very different from others. This is a place where rock formations, hundreds of meters high, meet the sea.
It’s a place where nature almost feels untouched.
In summer the sun never leaves, in winter it never shows. Blizzards of snow. Rain running wild. Foxes playing in mountain corners. Deer carelessly walking man’s road.
Some people call it home, some people call it a dream.
This is the place known as, Lofoten.

It was once known for its fishing. Nowadays the biggest income is tourism. Which is not surprising, cause it doesn’t matter how many times you travel to this place.
The tiny red cabins, with the snowy mountain peaks as a backdrop. With four seasons in a day.
It will make you speechless.
Every time.

I visited this place many times in summer, experienced the serene beauty of the midnight sun, before deciding I wanted to know what’s left when the tourists are gone. What I noticed through the years, is that the place has lost its empty roads , as they are often too crowded with cars and tourist buses even in winter.

Lofoten is still a place that is distant but not unknown to people throughout the world. In a way, it remains mysterious. Lofoten has not yet been a part of commercialization as much as other parts of the world. I hope this stays that way.

Not that I mind and don’t want people to experience this beauty, but I have a belief that we need places like this, that are not yet “normalized” and explored fully. Land that can be a part of one’s fantasy. For young people to still be able to dream of exploration like I did in my younger years, to realize that the world is still a place for which questions can be asked. This may be its greatest value for the generations to come.

I grew up imagining our world as still unexplored. I loved to hear stories about adventurers and places untouched. I used my fantasy to travel to distant places. As I became older my thoughts went from Tintin to explorers like August Andre, Henry David Thoreau, John Muir and thinkers that made me realize that the world within is just as big as the one “out there”, like Lao Tzu.

Recently while writing in my journal, I got an understanding of why I choose to travel to this far away places, why I sit in the car for 30 some hours alone. It’s stillness. It’s silence I’m looking for, and not the silence you imagine while standing alone on a mountaintop, but rather the silence and stillness within oneself. Even though one can find it anywhere, I noticed for myself that these trips to Lofoten and places similar give me a chance to experience myself.

Oslo, big cities are common at this stage of life. Music, cars, people, advertisement and phones are all a part of our daily and usually hectic life. While they are useful, it’s easy to switch on autopilot, forgetting that moments in a room alone while doing nothing, or standing in nature with no thoughts,  are necessary for our souls. These moments let us become a bigger part of ourselves. As the Nordic paradise has done for me.

So the “Nordic Paradise” is a project for which I hope people can take a break, maybe for minutes, maybe for hours, to experience silence for a brief moment.

© all pictures Linus Bergman with kind permission

More about Linus here.

Stay tuned dear readers regarding our print edition Vol.1!  Take care! Melanie Kettner

norway: fjell og himmel

Words & Images Samuel Han-

Travel has been a deeply engrained part of my life since I was born. My family and I moved around constantly, never really being able to settle down and put our roots somewhere. It was hard growing up but as I got older, it became an immense benefit to my future, because I loved to travel. As a photographer to see new places doesn’t always mean having to travel to new countries, but I was blessed with the opportunity to move to Sola, Norway for over six months volunteering at the YWAM Rogaland base.

Norway was a different challenge than I had ever faced before, I had never seen a fjord and had hardly heard about it. So getting to photograph the mountains, sea, and sky was a perfect combination, harmonious. I admit, it may be quite gloomy in the winter, but the winter gives you such a gratefulness for the light. To cherish the limited amount of light you get, to explore and be outside in a serene and sublime landscape. To wake up with the sunrise overlooking a fjord covered in snow and just barely being able to spot the houses of villages below. Sunrise and sunset seemed to last a lifetime as I drove around mountains and through tunnels.

There is a certain reverence for nature that I see in Norway that is difficult to see in many parts of the world. They live with the nature, and the nature isn’t a place that you take a vacation to go to. You live and abide in it.

With the world constantly expanding and trying to find new ways of living, preserving the very thing we come from is becoming more and more essential. I don’t photograph landscapes to give myself pleasure or others pleasure, but to show that these places are beautiful only if preserved. We as humans could easily destroy the nature… and many of us already have. Once we strip nature of what it is, we can never recover the same nature as we once had, it is impossible.

Solitude in serenity. The vast greatness of nature gives me something you can’t get in cities and towns, solitude. To be alone and yet, not completely alone. It allows me to get away and clear my head of the overwhelming thoughts and just relax in the beauty of what’s around me. Nature can do something that most can’t, just being in its presence can calm your soul, to rest.
I use my personal work to give myself rest and peace. Especially living in New York the last few years, it is so easy to get caught up in the busyness of it all. My personal work slows me down, to place myself back where I was in the vast expanse of nature. I hope that I can only do a fraction to help others in also slowing down and taking in the environment of the photo, to feel how it felt to be there and be in the moment.

© all pictures Samuel Han with kind permission

Sam is based in New York, follow him on Instagram here.

Melanie: As you may have heard: We are planning a printed edition of Northletters Magazine Vol.1. Photography today is mostly seen in tiny formats on fast moving media with a very short term of existence. We believe that pictures need PRINT. We want Northletters to be a platform for talented young photographers to have exposure, to be seen i.e. on a coffetable, maybe in a bookstore or even in libraries of universities, where fine art is culture. So, stay tuned dear readers and take good care! Yours, Melanie Kettner

 

welcome to the north

Images: Davide Rostirolla/ Words: Davide Rostirolla & Melanie Kettner-

Davide: Iceland is known as the “Island of the Ice and Fire”, where nature rules over man and sets the rhythm of life. There are 330,000 people living around the island, but it is only when you get out of the city that you see the wonders that this fantastic landscape has to reveal. The island is not only Ring Road, Blue Lagoon or Golden Circle, but has a lot more to offer. I left from Reykjavík, heading north towards Akureyri and Húsavík passing through Borgarnes. The journey continued to Egilsstaðir and the east fjords, Vopnafjörður and Borgarfjörður Eystri. With the bad weather, the fog and dirty roads overhanging the sea I seemed to be a character of some ghost stories, but these were the sensations and moods I had been looking for in Iceland.

I had not expected a lot of sun, not even in August, but that didn’t matter, Iceland reveals the best of itself with a dark sky and rainy clouds. Don’t be surprised if the weather changes completely in just a few minutes, this is typical in the Northern European countries. I explored the island from South to North, from West to East trying to find its wild side. In a few kilometers you can drive in the middle of nowhere, you can find houses under a waterfall, you can stay silent to admire glaciers and hear their beat, you can walk on black sandy beaches or on lava hills covered by a green coat. Welcome to Iceland, welcome to the North!

Going around you will easily understand that it is a continuously evolving land where the beautiful landscapes can easily change shape and appearance. Here, nature always wins. The road trip continued through the Vatnajökull National Park, Jokulsarlon and its icebergs, the black beach of Vík and the southern part of the island. Driving along a few unpaved roads, I reached isolated and completely out of time places. There, walking under the rain in a windy and foggy day, a lunar landscape and a wild land suddenly appeared in front of me. In Iceland it’s rewarding to get lost, because then you find yourself, in peace and harmony with nature.

© all pictures Davide Rostirolla with kind permission

Melanie: As Davide said, sometimes getting lost in some way is rewarding. We loose sight of our controlling intellect and have to find a new orientation. This often is helpful, as in some cases we need to change direction. We tend to choose always the same compass point in mind, we select the same patterns when deciding in life and these patterns often aren’t based on our own soul needs, but are automatically chosen based on our childhood experiences, learned models or society influences. They can lead to inappropriate problem solving techniques. Thus, sometimes it is wise to push the reset button in our mind and to get rid of thinking patterns that obviously are repeating themselves in our life and aren’t very helpful or aren’t even our own. When we are brave enough to leave the habitual and unfruitful paths, trying different and soul nourishing routes in our life, we will be rewarded.

More about Davide’s work here. Take good care my dear readers in 2018! Yours, Melanie Kettner

 

the endless shapes of nature

Images: Gustav Willeit. Words: Gustav Willeit & Melanie Kettner-

“For after all what is man in nature? A nothing in relation to infinity, all in relation to nothing, a central point between nothing and all and infinitely far from understanding either. The ends of things and their beginnings are impregnably concealed from him in an impenetrable secret. He is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness out of which he was drawn and the infinite in which he is engulfed.”
Blaise Pascal

Gustav: The sublime according to Immanuel Kant is the sense of awe that man feels when faced with the greatness of nature – when it shows its more peaceful side, but even more so when unleashing its dreadful forces, making each and every one of us feel our smallness, our extreme fragility, our finitude. Yet at the same time, right when becoming aware of that, we intuit the infinite and realize that our soul is capable of far more than our senses can grasp.

Gustav: The mountains, depicted in their architecture of incredible variants and infinite chromatic shades, unveil another essential yet invisible element: silence – the kind of silence inviting the viewer to listen to it. This silence is not disturbed by the presence of the human figure, which is placed in these landscapes like an attempt to present a familiar and graspable element. Yet the effect is quite the contrary: the human figure is not reassuring but escapes reason by raising a feeling of senselessness.The choice of composition is expressed in a harmony of lines and volumes. The shots are set in the wild lands of the North: the dimensions broaden, vast deserted areas stretch among rocky formations. A straight line is separating the plains from the mountains. The latter rise towards the horizon, which is still intangible, seeing it as a chromatic distinction from the sky is impossible.

Melanie: Silence. Probably the most important inspiration we can get from the encounter with nature. Due to the outer noise around us we aren’t capable anymore to find our inner silence regularly, a place where we can find some quietness, peace and regeneration. We do need this silence more than we know. Often these days people fear the solitude and stillness. We should face them, as we need to be in harmony with our own strong parts that foster us best. We don’t get to know them if there is too much noise around us.

Melanie: “our soul is capable of far more than our senses can grasp”, Gustav has written. This is so true.We often underestimate our own capabilities and inner or outer resources. And at the same time we overestimate the power other persons have on us with words or deeds as well and what an impact difficult experiences have on us too. We can learn a lot from nature in this sense. Nature is regenerating soon, nature has a strong will to fight, nature is full of pride and self-esteem. We should concentrate and trust on our positive energy without focusing too much on bad events, bad news, fears, future.

© all pictures Gustav Willeit with kind permission

Really touching Gutav’s work. Very Interesting is Gutav’s  series, named PERSPE, originated from a fragment of the German word “Perspektive” (perspective), it’s a statement alluding to the composition work, which is based on digital technology. The artist traces an unnatural perspective that is  invented, that creates “different” places, thus reaching perfect symmetry often disrupted by a discordant element. Absolutely stunning to learn more about it dear readers:

More about Gustav’s impressive work and his wonderful book here and here.

As every year we are having a break in December. I love it when the rhythm of time is getting slower before Christmas. I’ll be back in January. Take very good care of yourself my dear followers! Happy to hear from you, thanks so much for all your kind messages! I’ll be back in January. Yours, Melanie

the hidden place

Images & Text: Minna Rissanen-

Because of my childhood experiences, a close connection to nature is an essential part of my identity. Hiking trips with my family, where I learned to embrace wilderness, launched me on a lifelong journey. I live with the environment and landscapes, observing them and reflecting on my observations. I wander the forests by myself or with my dogs, shooting fowl in the woodlands and the taiga. All my roles give me a wide perspective, which makes the landscape a wonderfully rich experience.

 

The main theme of my photography is the experiential nature of landscapes, which I approach by spending time in the great outdoors. Going slowly—a stone’s throw away from my home or further, off the beaten track—I survey the matter of terrains. Bushes and thickets, forests and open uplands inspire me to an adventure with images. As a visual artist, I prefer photography as a vehicle of expression. The camera is an extension of my body and a document of my experiences. A swift medium that catches the moment, photography is the optimal medium for me.

Making art and leaving for the outdoors are similar experiences for me: I feel inspired and look forward to what is going to happen. I approach the landscape from the perspective of a human, phenomenological geography, which examines experiences, emotions, and meanings related to places. I am awed by the objects of admiration that ordinary-looking terrain and environments can offer. I try to find the boundary between the imaginary and the real. My focus is on something I like to call the hidden place. When looked at again and again, with an open mind, a hidden place discloses new visual scenes. A familiar hidden place is not empty or uninspiring for me. With my photos, I reflect on the concept of a place as a lived situational experience. In addition to its properties that can be perceived through the senses, I explore the images, atmosphere, and genius loci—the spirit—of a place.

My interpretation of the landscape is not based on movement only, while documenting the passing and changing view. Instead, my photographs also transmit the feeling of a standstill and immobility. The northern, Arctic environment, both natural and cultural, is my spiritual home and frame of mind. The visually fascinating Utsjoki area in the northernmost Finnish Lapland and the Varanger Peninsula in northern Norway attract me with their silence. Surrounded by the rich nuances and forces of nature, life is uncluttered and simple and allows living quietly in the moment. Utsjoki and Varanger are not far apart, but their sceneries are widely different. A sparsely populated upland, bare or covered only by dwarf birches, changes into a green pasture for sheep and then, closer to the Barents Sea, a void and barren moonscape. The Sami native region is a fascinating mixture of contrasts and variation. The cultural variety, changes in the seasons and weather, and variations in the amount of light attract the eye to the landscape over and over again, unforeseeable and puzzling.

© all pictures Minna Rissanen with kind permission

The North enchants and, like a physical force, has infected me with an incurable Lapland madness. Photography is my way to empowerment and longing. Melancholy is a feature of my imagery. I watch the open sea and the infinity opening from the top of the fjeld. Slightly melancholic and sad, I examine the landscape using a “romantic look”. A romantic look, for me, is a peaceful and personal, spiritual relation between the experiencer and the object. When examining the landscape, I notice I am looking at myself. The landscape is my experience and my mirror.

Minna is a visual artist from Finland, specialising in photographic art. Her work has been on display in art museums all over Finland. Items from her photo series Herbario Mystique will be shown in the Lappeenranta Art Museum in Finland as part of the Kaakko2018 exhibition in early 2018. Herbario Mystique is an intimate praise of plants—blossoming, withering, and dead—and the mystery of nature. At present, she is working on her Vuonnabahta photography series (working title).

More about Minna here.

Take good care my dear readers, follow us on Instagram in the meantime for more inspiration here.

Yours, Melanie Kettner

fragments of poetry that survived

Images: Petros Koublis & Words: Melanie Kettner and Petros Koublis-

Words: Melanie Kettner:

Derek Jarman changed my world. I bought his book „Derek Jarman´s Garden“ in the 90s. Since then I carried it with me, can’t tell how often I read it, reading it was like meditation, so calming. Derek Jarman, mythic film director and artist died in 1994, only 52 years old after a long battle against disease. In this year my little son was born. Soon after my son’s birth I discovered Dereks book with the wonderful pictures of Howard Sooley. In the 80s, Derek Jarman already sick, bought Prospect Cottage, a tiny fishing hut from 1900 in Dungeness, Southengland, located in the midst of no man’s land, a stony and desolated area, near the sea and in sighting distance of a nuclear power station.

He found this cottage, a little treasure in a forbidding desert, while traveling through. Always having been a passionate gardener, his first book came to his mind: „Beautiful flowers and how to grow them“ and his childhood garden in the Villa Zuassa in Italy: A gorgeous garden full of peonies, lupines, camellia. He decided to buy Prospect Cottage. The landscape of Dungeness, forgotten, lost in revery, touched him awkardly, yet deeply. In the middle of this inhospitable desert of nowhere, on a dry, unfertile soil he cultivated a blooming garden while loosing his eyesight and facing near death. A flowering desert garden full auf meaningful sculptures of metal or wood, objects found on long walks on the beach or built by himself or friends. A garden full of magic signs, meaningful circles of stones and flowers, spearheads, dreamy objects of steel, a garden seemingly created by a Druid. Gorse, sea kale, salvia, sea pea, fennel, lichen, lavender and thyme magically began to grow. While working in his garden, Derek wore a Morrocan caftan and gloves to protect his skin, as he became light-sensitive. He indeed looks like a Druid. Maybe he was one?

Derek’s seemingly senseless struggle for a blooming garden near a nuclear power station, he soon would loose anyway, was so inspiring to me. He knew he would die soon, but Derek managed to grow on this unfertile soil magnificent flowers and plants. He gave life to a lifeless desert and created a garden with meaning. „Paradise haunts garden“, Jarman wrote in his diary. I think this garden was an attendant to him on his way. And it still is to so many people, still making a pilgrimage to Dungeness to see this wondrous place. Derek Jarman cultivated a garden pointing to death, yet holding life in it, indeed a cottage with the prospect of hope.

Words: Petros Koublis:

There are some stories that stay with you. They leave a strong impression and become a reference that influences the way we think. A story like this one: In the late nineteenth century, near the city of Oxyrhynchus, in Upper Egypt, an ancient rubbish dump was discovered. It was an incredible discovery as it brought into surface thousands of manuscripts, containing countless of Greek and Latin literary works. Seventy-five large volumes of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri have been published since then and the restoration of the findings continues to this day. Something extremely interesting happened along the way.

About a year ago, Dirk Obbink, a papyrologist at the University of Oxford, announced that two new poems by the Greek lyric poet Sappho, born in the late seventh century BC, have been recovered. A poem about her brothers and another one about unrequited love. Every new discovery of a work from ancient literature is always welcome as a miracle. Sappho’s poetry was collected into nine books in the library of Alexandria. Unlike the First Folio, the selection of her poems was lost and today only fragments of her poetry survive. Her legend is mostly based on the reputation she had in antiquity, been known as the Tenth Muse. The most famous fragment that managed to reach our times is also the most indicative of her pioneer vision and unique contribution to our civilization. It is the Fragment 130:

“Ἔρος δηὖτέ μ᾽ ὀ λυσιμέλης δόνει, γλυκύπικρον ἀμάχανον ὄρπετον”

 

In English it is translated like “Once again Love, the loosener of limbs, shakes me, that bittersweet irresistible serpent”. There is something unique in this verse, indicative of Sappho’s immeasurable importance. In these very words there is a manifestation of a whole new aspect of the human experience, a revelation of a magnificent dimension of our spirit, the most touching realization of our consciousness. It is not the sensuality of the poem, but a certain aspect of it. This is the first time in known history that someone uses the word “bittersweet“ to describe an emotion. Art always preserves within its core an abstract dimension, something that surpasses the effects of form and the significance of the content. It unfolds its power slowly, with a cosmic persistence. A work of art is also a trace. It encompasses aspects of the human experience and creates a vehicle for them.

We cannot tell who exactly was the one who decided to write down her words and there is no way to track the journey of this fragment through the eons. But her words survived. And they have changed the way we fall in love for eternity.

© All images with kind permission Petros Koublis

Text source Petros Koublis here. And read more essays of Petros here.

So grateful to have found Petro’s whispering images and his essay that tell so much about finding a treasure in a seemingly nowhere’s land. His words have the nucleus of the magic sense of the written word as the book of Derek Jarman has. Both little stories symbolize for me the urge of a hope in a vastness, that our condition as human beings actually is, a vastness in which we need some hold, facing the question of life and death.

Petros is a New York and Athens based photographer. He discovered photography in 2000, after having been a painter before, which the beholder can sense when looking at his magic pieces. His work has been presented in exhibitions, and frequently published on international Art & Design platforms and magazines. More about his work here.

Derek Jarman’s book is published by thamesandhudson. It can be ordered here.

Take care dear readers! Yours, Melanie Kettner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

finding myself in front of the silence

Images & Words: Olga Segura-

I have always been very shy. I liked to be alone in my room drawing and imagining my stories. I loved listening to piano music while I wrote down all that passed through my mind in that moment. But my unconscious art interest told me that I hadn’t found yet that type of artistic expression that would make me feel alive. It was then, that I discovered dancing. I danced about six years, years that let me release my fear of expressing myself freely without thinking about what people might say, a period in which I met people that had the same curiosity like me, I learned to see the world differently and to express my feelings when I felt alone. I wished to make a living of art because that was what I needed to be myself. In that moment appeared in me a strong connection between me and art in a general term.

One summer, on a trip in Tunisia, I met a woman who considered photography as an essential source in her life. She told me: “photography is my magic, it captures these little and special moments in our lives and save them as a little treasures of our existence”. Hearing these words, I suddenly realized that I wanted to learn photography. My father gave me his analog camera, a yashica Fx3 and two 35mm expired film full of dust that we found inside a box in the attic. Then, I bought my nikon d90 that it’s still works perfectly, so this way I discovered my photography passion.

All my learning process was self-taught. Magazines, books, exhibitions and a lot of practice. I had the luck to meet three special people who are currently still present in my life. With them I discovered the outdoors beauty. I began to go outside more and more every time I could, until it turned into a need. How many things I urged to learn, discover and explore! A whole world full of magic and mystery, that despite the fact that the years went through, would be at the same place, so I could go back every time I wanted. This need to escape from the world of my routine was getting more urgent in my life, not just with the aim to photograph my environmet but for myself as well. I needed to feel good with myself, to believe that I was on the right way.

The fact of finding myself alone in front of the silence that emerged from each landscape made me realize that time was more valuable than I thought. The time flies away very quickly and I need to keep all memories that I can without letting them go. I’ve learned to observe, to be patient, as if each photograph could become a picture on the wall. It has always been difficult for me to express myself, so instead of speaking I communicate through my art. Meanwhile I prefer to write some words about what I feel in these moments. It has been about one year that I’ve developed interest in writing about my photos. Every time I upload a picture on Instagram, I write some lines, always in Catalan, my native language, about what this pic makes me feel. It’s like creating memories. And maybe, you will ask where my inspiration comes from? I don’t know actually or maybe I’ve never asked myself. But as I said before, my strong connection with music let me disappear in some way, my mind completely goes blank when I’m taking photos. I put my headphones on and the music starts, like if someone had switched off the light of the whole world and only me and my soul exist.

Talking now about this selection of pictures, I’m trying to make people sense what I was feeling in that moment looking at the beauty of those landscapes. I was trying to create a mystery mood playing with the fog, the light and shadows, and the mountain shapes that emerged before my eyes. I wanted to get this pure air in my pictures. It’s like climbing up to the highest mountain and at the top breathing in for the first time with the sensation of being the king of the world. This pictures are taken in two differents places, both in Catalonia, Spain, but both with the same aim: to escape from reality or even lose every notion of reality.

And I would like to end with the most valuable advice that a very special person gave me one day when I went through a bad time in my life, and I repeat it to me every day of my life. “to have artistic restlessnesses is not being lost, to have artistic restlessnesses is the best that can happen to you.”

© all pictures Olga Segura with kind permission

More about Olga’s wonderful work here and follow her on Instagram here.

Take good care dear readers! Melanie Kettner