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

Essay of our NL1 magazine!

 

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!

© all pictures Davide Rostirolla 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.

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.

Essay of our NL1 magazine!

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

Excerpt of our NL1 magazine

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.

© all pictures Minna Rissanen

More of this essay in our NL1 magazine!

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.

© all pictures Olga Segura

More of this essay in our NL1 magazine

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

Essay of our NL1 magazine!

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.

© all pictures Frederique Peckelsen

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?

Essay of our NL1 magazine!

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 Eeva Mäkinen

Essay of our NL1 magazine!

 

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

Essay of our NL1 magazine!