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

a place where I feel complete

Images & Words: Fran Mart-

Miles and miles have passed since I decided to move to the UK, and so many wonderful things have happened. I found the right path, the right guy to walk it with, and we’re making a home out of our dreams and kindness. Today I want to encourage you to take that first step you’ve been thinking about for a long time. Maybe it’s moving to a new country, or starting a new project, asking someone to walk beside you or just allowing yourself to find more quiet. So many beautiful horizons are waiting for you if you’re just willing to take the wheel. Life is a matter of choice. I’m thinking about how different my life was before. Visiting Ibiza and Formentera has made me remember how much I love the sea and how much it has always been present in my life. But I always knew that my soul belonged to another place and this is the highlands of Scotland. I left my whole life behind and chose to go out and find my place, my inner home, the place where I feel complete.

All I have achieved so far has been with the help of people around me, my persistence, my love of adventure, nature and the desire to inspire people to travel and explore in themselves. Follow the path ahead, be patience, believe in this and go your own way. Originally from Andalucía, Spain, the colors, landscapes and textures offered by the British countryside continue to inspire me today. Having discovered photography through my good friend (and tattoo artist), it very quickly became my passion and adventure. Obsessed by light and simple, natural beauty, I always seek to capture something beyond what we see – the emotion, feelings, memories that exist in the moment. For me, photography is akin to sitting by the fire, sipping a cup of freshly brewed coffee or dram of whisky, and sharing stories with good friends. My photography has taken me on an incredible journey. A journey that takes you to the unexplored space of your own being. One of the meanings of photography for me. What started with exploring my own feelings through self-portraiture has turned into capturing the lives of others in a variety of styles. Photography gave me a reason to fall in love with life again.

For two years now I’ve been living with the frustration of not being able to express myself with the right words. This is because it is not my mother tongue.
I want to connect with you in a deeper way, sharing thoughts and experiences which is why I’m making the decision to write more.  Photography helped me to express myself when the words where scarce but it’s just one of many ways. Writing, painting, dancing, whatever is inside you, let it come out. Free yourself. Art is a way to release feelings and thoughts, a way to be honest with ourselves.Think big about our world and your mind will expand, we know very little of it. We live in our bubble of desires stopping us from growing. Be authentic, rare, strange, you are unique when you are really you. Stay true to your own nature. Mine is the slow living, the quietness, the explorer, the enthusiastic, the dreamer.

I was catching up with another photographer the other day and he asked me why an adventure account from Scotland hasn’t featured my work on their page yet. I’ve been doing some thinking on these “big accounts” and so wanted to share a little something on what motivates my work. I love taking pictures. I love being out there, exploring, noticing and connecting with what is in front of me. I love getting back home and sitting in front of the computer seeing the beauty that’s captured on my camera. I love to read your messages saying how you find inspiration in those images too. These and a thousand more are the reasons for what I do. 
I’d be lying if I said that I don’t like it when big communities on IG feature my work; this brings me a little bit of happiness and itself feels rewarding (maybe stroking that universal need for recognition) but I’m very clear that it does not make you a better photographer. What helps you grow as a photographer is believing in yourself, having the courage to get out there and explore, to see with your own eyes and feel in your own self the world where we live and all the beauty that lies waiting for you. I feel grateful for the journey that photography is taking me on, traveling to so many places, meeting incredible people, being more present. With photography I discovered parts of myself that have been hidden, releasing my sensibilities, and allowing more beauty into my life.

For me and for thousands with similar inclinations, the most important passion of life is the overpowering desire to escape periodically from the clutches of a mechanistic civilization. To us the enjoyment of solitude, complete independence, and the beauty of undefined panoramas is absolutely essential to happiness…”- Bob Marshall. I couldn’t agree more with him, there is no better place than nature to listen to your inner soul. Nature is full of wonder. I didn’t realize the very importance of nature in life until a few years ago. Distracted by fantasies of a life I thought I wanted, I didn’t allow space to develop a vision beyond myself. It was in front of the sea where I first came face to face to the feeling that I’d been building a life I did not actually belong to, a life outside myself. Let yourself be part of nature and allow its stillness to speak into who you are.We spend much of our life traveling between thoughts. We forget to appreciate everything around us, the moment of here and now. Nature transports us to the natural state of the present and to calm our loudest mind.

© all pictures Fran Mart with kind permission

Follow Fran and his lovely dog James here and here.

Take care dear followers! So happy to share Fran`s wonderful and honest words and beautiful images with you! Thanks so much for all your kind messages and support! Yours, Melanie Kettner

just north of summer

Words & Images Norbert von Niman-

It is those days when you’re walking on a glacier, everything around you in full black and white except your friends yellow raincoat, wearing three layers and still getting cold. You are still waiting for the heat waves, beach days and tropical showers when you realise it’s already August and this is as good as summer will get in Iceland. This is a fully different climate, fully different experience and an astonishing landscape to back it all up.

Getting used to a landscape like this is something that will never happen. Every time you revisit a place it’s a different light, different colours of the grass, different clouds, weather and season. In summer there are signs of lush, green life while in winter those four hours of sunlight bounces off the snow colouring everything with an orange hue, or pink, purple blue and then black. It’s like a massive colouring book, sometimes filled out but sometimes just left empty.

The desolation is sometimes imminent which makes the small details, that one perceivable object or the only feature, ever so much more important to show that this is actually reality. It’s difficult to comprehend the scale and the distance, and an anchor point for that sense of reality is important.
Same thing applies to life living in such a hostile environment. With cold around every corner and a darkness that takes everything there needs to be something to bring back some hope. Hot springs can provide warmth for body, good friends and all the open hearted locals provide warmth for the soul, and northern lights shine up the darkness. This makes even the coldest winter days survivable.

It’s not supposed to be easy to live on an extreme piece of volcano surrounded by the wild sea. You can hide in Reykjavik and pretend to live a normal life with normal problems but as soon as you get out in the wilderness the weather can be the greatest of challenges. Pictures are best taken when there is a good story to follow behind it, or a struggle to get it. That is most certainly the case when facing gale force winds, freezing temperatures and isolation from civilisation. The weather suits the landscape though.

© all images Norbert von Niman

Many times there can be hours of howling wind tearing through even the most windproof layers of clothing, until you come to the sudden realisation that everything has gone perfectly quiet. All noise is gone, water flat, nothing is moving. The wind has stopped and so does the world with it. It is these moments of clarity when the feeling of truly being alone in the middle of nowhere creeps up. The shutter makes a quick sound that echoes in the vast emptiness. The wind is back.

Norbert is a photographer and guide based in Iceland. Follow his journey here. Take care, Melanie Kettner

a world full of untold stories

Words & Images Frederique Peckelsen-

Not all summers are the same. Whilst most people use summers to lay in the sun and typically relax, for me summer is a time to explore and discover. I have the freedom to visit places far away from home, far away from the big known cities and the Western world. There are so many untold stories on our earth, so many unseen places, and I have this insatiable urge to go out and find them and share these stories with the world. I used to love the warm weather. My grandma always asked me when I was going to move to Spain. But then Iceland changed something. I want to be outside in the cold.

 

 

The white North has a treasurable silence, that I have found nowhere else in the world. It is the only place that never distracts me from my own thoughts and feelings, but rather confronts me with it. The endless white landscapes brings clarity to my mind. The rough but silent nature is so perfectly aligned with what I feel on the inside. There is hope, in the desolate landscape – as contradicting as it may sound. Its beauty strikes you in your core, as there is no distraction of any kind. Only a very pure feeling remains.

 

 

But then again, the North can be as mysterious as the night. The hidden and covered landscapes, and the mystery of what lies beneath and beyond makes way for untold stories. The invisible or the things out of sight fuel my imagination, and make way for a sense of freedom, away from the familiar and the obvious. The North is like home, but it is always far away from today, here and now. And in this way, with both clarity and imagination, the North unites me with my creativity that mostly gets smothered in the more crowded places. It taps into a world of the lost, the hidden, the untold and the forgotten. The North feels like the abandoned lands of epic battles fought in children books. Battles between higher Gods and invisible creatures.

 

 

 

 

I grew up in a very small town up in the North. I had a childhood full of fantasy, and played in the woods that surrounded our house for days on end. I imagined every tree was a spirit, and that the woods would talk to each other, but they talked in a language unknown to mankind. I played at a little wooden church, close to home. The church was built by Vikings, according to old folk tales. Folk tales and fairytales were not just stories that were made up, there had to be more to them. Since then I have always been on a quest to find most distant and forgotten places, locked between the most majestic mountains. Isolated houses awake my fantasy. Who lives there? What would a cold night, full of storm be like in there? Have you ever wondered? Every time I go back to Iceland, I secretly hope for these colors. There is so much that awestrucks me, but these colors make everything even more magical.

We are all looking for something, chasing it, sometimes even without knowing what it is. I always tend to find ‘it’ in desolate places, because of this ongoing confrontation with my own mind, and the beauty that I’m surrounded by while contemplating it all. As we grow older, we should realize that our option broaden, they do not limit. Learn, practice, put in every extra hour you have. Because if this is that little voice talking, it will guide you toward your final path. I’m looking for sacred places in nature, perhaps because I’m looking for that place within myself. Somewhere where nature is harsh and rules over everything, instead of everything seemingly ruling over nature. There is something so magical about the ever changing but rough and pure landscape of the North. It feels like an untouched piece of the earth, whereas a lot of other places are all altered to serve humans and make life easier. I believe that where we go or what we long for defines who we are, or and least says something about us.

Everyone has that one thing that keeps on calling. But mostly it is very silently. When we are children it is so much louder, and so much clearer. As kids we know exactly what we want, and we are not afraid to say these desires out loud. But then, when we get older, dreams change, although dreaming never changes. But the one thing is, that we don’t take our dreams as serious as we did before. When I was young, I always wanted to be an Egyptologist, an areologist. Of course my options where limited, but as a child I didn’t know what possibilities the world had in store. But I did know I was intrigued by forgotten and untold stories, by undiscovered kingdoms and that I wanted to explore what hadn’t been explored. I wanted to show the world the treasures earth possesses.

But weirdly enough, as we grow older, our dreams aren’t as big as they were – even though we are more aware of all its possibilities. We think about what would be the most sensible choice, what brings us most money. All of a sudden our options are limited, and we are scared to even say out loud what we desire. I am not saying that everybody should give up their jobs, and build a cabin in the woods (isn’t that what we all would love?). But what I am saying is, listen to that little voice inside. That dream you are scared off. That one thing you fear you will be ridiculed for, or seems impossible to achieve. Has one ever regretted trying to follow their dream?

 

I could stand here for hours.These colours are more magical than anything. Ever mountain, every part of the water reflects the same color as the sky. Sometimes, on the most unexpected moments, a sort of melancholic feeling seems to get the best of me. It always brings me back to these roads, these mountains, this land. In a world where we try to control all and everything, or try to explain and understand it, fight against nature instead of abiding it, the North seems to be one of the last places that keeps its mystery with its ever changing weather, non visible landscapes, covered mountains and days of darkness.

 

© all pictures Frederique Peckelsen with kind permission

More about Frederique’s wonderfully magic world here.

after a while she talked to nature

Images: Eeva Mäkinen Words: Melanie Kettner & Eeva Mäkinen-

Eeva: Yep, once again I left my comfy hotel room and escaped to the wilderness. I bet my laptop enjoyed the warm bed.The hike was pretty intense though. The path was icy and included some stairs, actually 300 of them. All covered with 1 meter of icy snow. Not my cup of tea to climb them with my 20kg heavy backpack on but there was no way to return. I just had to keep on going. The nights were well worth the pain. The bruises were nothing compared to the total silence and tranquility what I got when spending the nights over here.

Melanie: Eeva’s strong connection with nature helps her to create the images she dreams about. It’s difficult  for her to stay several days in the wilderness alone. Sometimes it’s very scary to feel this intense loneliness, especially at night. But she has become a stronger person after dealing with those feelings. I asked her what freedom means to her and she said, that she loves choosing the direction she wants to go, without schedules pushing her. Being alone gives her a sense of freedom.

Eeva: How often do you spend a night by yourself? And how often do you think about doing it? Nowadays I do this a lot. I really love it. Sometimes I get a bit scared of noises outside of my tent but I got used to it. I also got used to staying alone in the darkness.

Eeva: After spending all these nights alone in the woods I’ve learned to cope with my fear of darkness. I guess it’s because I understand more how the forest behives and the noises it makes. Now I know the names for the birds that scared me when I made them fly away by accideantally walking too close. I also know how rare it actually is to get attacked by the wolves. Don’t get this wrong though, I’m still a bit scared when I do these overnight hikes alone but I’m just enjoying it a lot more nowadays.

Melanie: Eeva said that for her it feels rewarding when to see how different nature looks during day and night. Especially exciting to her are the Northern Lights, Aurora borealis. This magic light scenery is one of the wonders of this amazing planet. It’s like a celestial dance with moving lights in different colours across the night sky. The dancing lights are due to collisions between electrically charged particles of the sun that enter earth’s atmosphere, they are seen above the northern and southern poles.

Eeva: When shooting the Northern Lights it’s pretty cool to sleep outside. That way you don’t get too comfortable and your camera is ready when the show begins. During last week I did something totally different and slept in a beautiful cabin before our weekend hike to UKK National Park. I watched the stars and northern lights dancing in the sky until I fell asleep. First time in a long time I just layed down and watched them without any stress of getting the shot. Even though I will continue sleeping some nights outside I really needed this experience to remind me to enjoy these moments also without my camera.

Melanie: One night Eeva was on a shooting trip and she decided to hike up to see what she could get from there. The night started extremely windy and she get scared. Nonetheless she tried to keep her focus on taking pictures. But there was something that made her nervous of staying there. After a while she went outside from her tent and talked to nature and herself. Suddenly it was all calm, her feelings and the wind.

Eeva: I think we are meant to meet like-minded people on our way. We share epic moments and we share great stories. Eventually, we all sleep under the same milky way.

© all pictures with kind permission Eeva Mäkinen

At the moment Eeva works also a freelance writer and photography guide.Learn more about her impressive work here and here.

What a courage Eeva has! Have a beautiful week my dear readers! Hope you are in a relaxed  mood! Take care! Melanie Kettner

 

 

 

the way we look on it

Images Jon West & Words Melanie Kettner-

Life challenges us all from time to time, some of us have to overcome harder defiances than others. In the end, changing perspective becomes the most important tool we can use to adjust to life changes, that we can not avoid. Jon’s breathtaking earth images are the perfect symbol for this attitude we can adopt. As I psychological coach I often changed the seat with my client, sometimes literally. It all depends on how we look on occurrences. We let them do us harm, because we loose control over our own habitual thinking. The seize of an incident is defined not by itself, but by the way we look on it and the way we reflect on it.

Our thinking mostly follows automatic patterns, it’s not easy to learn to make them conscious and to stay aware of these self-acting responses. Interestingly human beings all have the same thinking patterns often dictated by fear and insecurity. To control them gives us a device to value an event more objectively and to detect the real dimension of it.

From Jon Kabat Zinn I learned meditating. He often gives the advice to imagine ourselves sitting beneath a waterfall with its random noise. The “noise” modern society forces on us is difficult to bear at times. We often don’t notice it anymore. It’s the speed of our day, of the news  flashing by and the social media that overstrain us unnoticed. When we pause for a moment and step aside, we can sit in the nearness of the waterfall, but not right in the middle of it anymore. The noise will become more at distance and weaker.

“We all tend to fill up our days with things that just have to be done and then run around desperately trying to do them all, while in the process not really enjoying much of the doing because we are too pressed for time, too rushed, too busy, too anxious? We can feel overwhelmed by our schedules, our responsibilities, and our roles at times, even when everything we are doing is important, even when we have chosen to do them all. We live immersed in a world of constant doing. Rarely are we in touch with who is doing the doing.”

― Jon Kabat-Zinn, Full Catastrophe Living

Changing perspective moves problems away from us we cannot deal with at the moment. It enables us to approach the issue from a calm, peaceful state of mind, that will ensure that our decisions will be wise and our soul will not be tormented senselessly. Basically, mindful meditation means a state of being, rather than a state of doing.

© all images Jon West with kind permission

Jon owns a Vancouver based video production company. More about Jon’s beautiful work here and here.

Take good care of yourselves dear followers! Hope you keep in touch with us on Instagram! Yours, Melanie Kettner

moments that capture you

Words & Images Josh Kempinaire-

I’ve always been attracted by the North. I can’t really explain why, but I know that I like the cold, the snow, the soft light. That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to got to Africa or South America, of course I do. But if you ask me to choose one destination for the rest of my life, I would on the spot say Norway, Iceland, Alaska or Greenland. That sounds weird for some people, but if you have ever experienced the peace you find up in the North, you definitely understand my point. Nature there never stops amazing me. From a small tree in a forest to a majestic rock in Norway, it always makes me realize how beautiful our planet is. We are maybe not living in the coolest world ever in terms of politics but that’s not the subject here. Nature is beautiful, nature nearly seems to be unreal and nature is what I’m living for.

I would not consider myself as a professional photographer, more as an adventurer. I don’t travel to take pictures, I take pictures because I’m traveling. I want to explore the world. While writing this I realize that it’s really hard to express how I feel about that, because I can actually not spend a long time without shooting. So, is it the feeling of having a camera in my hand that I miss? Or just the feeling of being in the mountains? I would say I need the mountains, but honestly I don’t know. I graduated from high school three years ago and I immediately had a yearning for traveling. So, I bought a van, actually an old delivery car that I turned into a van, and drove all the way from Switzerland to the North Cape in Norway. I’ve never felt so free since then. That’s why I’m now thinking about living for my two passions: Adventure and Photography, nothing more. I’m not interested in living a “normal life” that our society suggests us to live. I don’t want to make crazy money or to drive a fancy car. I don’t need it. And even if my future is still quite uncertain, I know what I want to do: I like challenges and I think I’m ready for this one.

Exploring is not only about going to crazy remote and unknown places, it’s about going to places that you personally don’t know. I never mind if somebody tells me that a place is “too famous” or “so touristic”. If I guess it’s beautiful and I’ve never been there, I go. I would say that exploring is about leaving your comfort zone. Actually, I was afraid of being alone in a dark forest, when I first planned my tour in Norway, it was more than a exploration tour for me. I think people are just stuck in a vision that link the word “exploring” to “fame” and that’s why many people are not doing it. They just think that they are not good enough to climb the Everest, but they are probably brave enough to spend their first night under the stars in a dark, unfriendly forest next to their house. I’m passionate about mountains and my heart belongs to the ocean, so I had to leave.

The mountains are majestic, we owe them respect, they go through all kind of weather and millions years after, they are still there. You can’t conquer a mountain; maybe it allows you to climb it. When I’m hiking to the top, I realize that I’m only a small human being that is irrelevant in this nature. I’ve still never climbed a high peak until only a few months ago, I was really afraid of the height. I started to climb with friends to get rid of this fear and I have a new challenge now, I would like to do some alpinism in a near future. Then I will really be able to tell how I feel about mountains.

I can easily compare the ocean to the mountains: peaceful and powerful at the same time. They control everything, they are everywhere around us. But there is something more that I can’t really explain. I feel just so good when I swim inside salty water. And more than that, it’s the texture of the water that I like more than anything else. Every wave is unique, like every moment in life. They all looks the same but if you watch closely, they are all different, the power is different, the colours are different, the shades are different. Regarding life, every minute is different. Even if you think you are in a routine, there are still moments that will pop out of your life and these are the ones you have to enjoy.

 

© all pictures Josh Kempinaire with kind permission

Now you have an idea of why I choose to do my first major tour in Norway, because you can find sharp peaks next to the ocean and fjords that flood in the middle of the mountains. But there is something more that is really important for me: Not to be afraid and if we are, we should fight these fears, without avoiding them. Don’t think you are not adventurous enough, we all have a different perception and vision of life and we should all develop our own. Take pictures and just create new memories because there are moments that you should definitely capture and by the way, there are moments that will capture you. That’s what life is about.

More about Josh and his adventures and photography here.

Take care dear readers! Yours, Melanie Kettner