Monday, 4 July 2016

i'm alive!

Hello! If you are reading this, I congratulate you for your sisu (spirit, perseverance). I have let this blog be for over a year. And I don't have immediate plans to bring it back to life. Blogging has been pretty much my only medium of social media for a long time, as a photographer and as a person of the modern world, and I'm on my way to fix that


I have a website - katariinaleinonen.com
It works as my portfolio and a more serious public image. Some of the stuff there is old and you will have seen it, but right at the top there are brand new still life images of Kalevala jewellery that never saw the light of this blog.

For this summer I have a pumpkin project on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/kurpitsapictures/
It's a light-hearted project during which I grow a giant pumpkin and share my photography

I just started out at Instagram
The Instagram follows the pumpkin theme


At the moment I'm busy with all the new things: learning how they work, why people use them, and finding my way of using them. I have all the reason to believe that I will blog again, too. I love writing down thoughts and ideas, whether the texts are published or not. After all this time my head is still a mess concerning photography, and thus these simpler media work better for me now. And, regardless of the mess, I am still writing. It's just not going anywhere, for the eyes of others, yet.



Saturday, 21 March 2015

weird stuff

I'm in the middle of a huge weird thing of confusion and change right now. I'm learning - fast - a lot of new things, new ways of doing things, and more importantly, new ways of thinking about things. And new ways of seeing things, too. I haven't photographed anything out of pure personal gain since... since I got here in the autumn. I feel like I don't know what I would photograph, because I'm overthinking everything, and man, that's some weird stuff.
I suppose this is a good thing, this learning process, and I hope it will never stop, as much as that is a cliché. I enjoy thinking about these things I'm thinking about, and I enjoy the feeling of trying to make progress, despite the fact that I'm overdoing it.

Things are going to change. Things are already changing inside my head, I hope, but the changes will eventually affect my work - and this blog. I will make this blog into something more functional, along other media of expressing my thoughts, so that I can leave the endless self-criticism to myself and uni, and make this blog into the thing I need, instead of what I feel like it should be based on what it has been so far.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

life in a jar

We've had a really cool still life project going on at uni. To be honest, before this project I thought that still life couldn't be anything more than drawing a jug and some apples in a bowl, and I never knew I could be this excited for photographing objects! For me this was one of the most thrilling things we've done at uni (another one being the octopus picture).
The brief for this one was to create an autobiographical composite image. It wasn't the easiest of briefs, but I enjoyed thinking about and photographing this. Also, this was one of my first real touches to using Photoshop along with another still life - a recreation one - that I would love to publish, but I need to figure out how to deal with recreations properly first.



Now, after still life, we're starting a project with portraits in film!

Saturday, 31 January 2015

twins

Hey there! I'm happily back in Edinburgh after the holidays, happily back in business! I deeply regret that I left my camera here when I travelled back home, so logically from that follows that now is the time to take a look at the most interesting shoot I had last semester, right? Because I have no holiday season-y snow pictures, it's time for something else that used to be frozen, right?

This was part of our recreation assignment and here's the original by Sarah Ann Loreth


It feels like I have adored this photograph always. It's one of the first that caught my eye a long time ago that I still can recall as my early inspiration. A couple of months ago when I asked myself "what do I want to recreate?" I first browsed tumblr and my flickr favourites to find something doable but exciting. When I stopped to think, it was obvious that I would recreate this one. With the wise words of our tutor: when would I ever get such a good opportunity to put an octopus on my head?

And here's my recreation


Obviously the octopuses probably weren't twins. When I bought them frozen I was expecting one big one and was surprised to get two small ones. Unfortunately the model in the original photo and I are hardly twins either, but the original photographer Sarah Ann Loreth and her model are!

I've gotten a lot of strong (sometimes it's hard to tell if "you must be crazy!" is positive or negative) feedback from this picture, and that has been fun. Though I am conscious of that the feedback, positive or negative, was probably about what I did for the picture rather than the picture itself. I don't know if I like that or not. Forgetting the fact that this isn't actually my image, I just recreated something someone else had already done, do I want to take a good picture or do something good that I can take a picture of? Are they even two different things, or are they two sides of one thing? And maybe it's not bipolar, maybe it's more diverse than good/bad and positive/negative. I suppose this is part of my struggle for 'what makes a good photograph'.

Funnily enough the most difficult things about this recreation were preventing the octopuses from falling off my head and keeping my eyes open against the super bright light. In my experience the smell wasn't that bad, though to be honest I did spend a considerable amount of time in the shower after the shoot.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

white eyelashes are cool

A new self-portrait! And another! I am so shocked I don't really know what to say! Perhaps that is because it of course isn't very shocking or surprising but quite the opposite. I recently took a look at my Flickr photostream and I couldn't but laugh a little when I saw how many of my 15 newest photos are self-portraits.

Our final project for this semester was to remake 5 images that inspired us. These two are not any of those. (I would very much like to publish them but I still have to figure out how the copyright thing works.) Instead, one of the remakes involved face paints and window light in solitude of my room, and I got inspired especially by the white paint (probably because of Kirsty Mitchell's Wonderland series), and when I was finished, I washed off what I had painted for the remake and started playing.
I had my setting ready from the previous shoot: my chair on my bed to support my black sheet as the background, me sitting on my bed with a remote control wired to the camera and the camera wired to the computer on which a tethered shoot in Lightroom. This solved the problem of getting off the bed to go behind the camera to see the pictures, and the problem of not noticing incorrect focusing. And oh boy, getting the focus right was hard. I have come to dislike noses a lot because of that shoot as they tend to steal all the attention.

Despite of the disadvantages of taking self-portraits, sometimes I really do like being just by myself. I don't have to please anybody else, I only need to focus on what I do, I have all the time in the world and I have nobody else to let down but myself. One of the reasons I like photography is that I can interact with my subjects, but also there's something magical in exploring alone, it's a bit of healthy me time (opposed to Facebook or general procrastination on computer).

I was just randomly playing around, but I guess I subconsciously went for an appropriate-ish theme with both looks: a frostbite traveller and a catatonic clown-like something. (For those of you who don't get to those temperatures: when it's as cold as -20 degrees celsius, the vapour from your breath does sometimes freeze on your eyelashes and eyebrows.) Lately I've thought about the purposiveness of photography a lot (without coming to a conclusion so far) and in my own work I seem to have judged a photo to not to have had a purpose unless I wrote the purpose down on paper. That of course is not the definition of a suitable purpose, but I'm going to think about this more later and finish wrapping some Christmas presents!




When I was finished with the shoot, I didn't want to wash my cool paint off right away so I started to cook and forgot I didn't have the cream I needed so I went to a nearby Sainsbury's with white lines on my face. I'm still not quite sure if you're expected to blend in the crowd more in this country than at home, but at least I didn't get arrested.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

embrace the accidents!

A brilliant accident occurred once more. This time we had a lighting workshop and I wanted to try long exposure with a flash, but the flash didn't fire. I'm glad it didn't.


These accidents keep occurring. I mean, of course they do, accidents are part of exploring and I'm happy they are, because they are sometimes brilliant, like this one. I do, however, feel bad when I'm not in control of the accident, and can't recreate it, because it makes me feel like the picture isn't the product of my efforts, I just happened to be there and happened to press a button.
But maybe I should just accept that these things happen (at least now that my technical skills aren't very sophisticated yet) and enjoy them. I guess it's hard to fight back when your opponent is something as random and unpredictable (and nice) as (nice) accidents are. And after all, accidents are an inevitable part of life, and one of the reasons I love photography is its profound link to reality.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

work of a genius, eh?

We have a lecturer who has frequently told us, first year photography students and film students, that we are not geniuses. (What does he know, we might as well be!) As I have understood, his point is that creative work is not a product of a genius or magical powers called creativity and inspiration, but rather hard work and planning. I think it is a very good point but I find it funny that just the fact that we chose to study something creative and related to arts makes us appear arrogant. Despite of not being completely serious he seems to have a consistent need to say so. Yes, sometimes I am very proud of what I have accomplished in terms of photography but I try to be healthily modest about it, and I by no means think it has anything to do with any superiority to normal (= non-photographer) people. Also, I am often very careful to not to think or claim that my work is art in order to stay away from the confusing stigma of arrogance related to the current conception of 'art'.
I thought I knew what he meant so I didn't think much of it. However, it turned out I did not fully understand and I had to learn it the hard way.

We were assigned a portrait project, and I was very excited and wanted to prove my skills and passion to myself and our lecturers. I knew that that wasn't what I was supposed to do, but I waited and waited and no inspiration came to me. I wanted to succeed so badly that I was afraid of not fulfilling my own expectations, which almost left me with no portraits whatsoever.
I finally forced myself to create a plan for the images. I thought it was a good plan, but I wasn't completely sure it would be good enough for me, but I did my best to make the plan into images. Eventually the plan failed because I had waited so long to execute it and I ended up just taking whatever portrait type shots I could the day before the deadline with a friend from my course.

So, here's another assignment photo that turned out to be very different from what I planned it to be. This time the change wasn't due to lack of technical skills but the lack of emotional intelligence and brain in general.
Given the circumstances I like the image very much. That, however, has nothing to do with being a genius, nor does it have anything to do with hard work and planning. Thus I am rather confused with the lesson I should have learned. One thing I promise, though: one day (hopefully soon) I will publish a photo that has for its existence to thank me and only me, not an accident, not an unexpected event. I will have planned it, executed it and faced and fixed the problems regarding the execution, and it will be my creation* and I will be proud of it. I will produce a good photograph with hard work and careful planning and see how it turns out.

*Doesn't mean that I would have to do it all alone, but that the creative choices will all be mine