Leaving Shame

Of all negative human emotions, I believe shame to be the most destructive. It paralyzes us. It damages us. It stops the natural flow of life and creativity. And worst of all, it makes us self conscious and makes us think what others would think of us. This is a powerful inhibitor and will not allow spontaneity anywhere near.

For some reason I cannot understand, artists and creators seem to be especially vulnerable to this. We wish we have better skill. And we are ashamed of not having experience. And being paralyzed in our shame, how can we ever have experience?

Same goes for sexuality, especially male sexuality. For some strange reason men have amazing shame of their feeling or body. Women might be ashamed as well, but I would argue that men are even worse in this, what our very existence is based on. The shame seems to be rooted into abstract and often completely undefined thought that we should be like something what we are not. That’s how conservative people think, their thoughts are usually vague and not concrete; I should be somehow like something else, and others should too.

So what to do? If shame is inhibitor of positive change, we definitely should do something. We need to flow like water.

Someone said once that nothing can exist in nature which is not natural.  So actually shame does not exist. It’s just an illusion. Even the most talented artist was once a rookie. Even the most famous photographer was once a beginner.

If you can know that there is no shame in being beginner, being alive and being horny, you are already free from shame, and you are on your way to bigger waters.

So lets be a hero today and leave shame to the shore where it belongs.

Horror Game

I started to make my first computer game. The story is about young man who falls into a hole in forest. (This is my own story, as I fell into a hole once, and got up from there as a new man.)

My game deals with the the fear of becoming adult and overcoming hard circumstance. Yes, this is definitely a horror game. But I hope I can suggest more deeper theme than the ordinary games of dealing with enemies or aliens. Fear is never that simple. It goes deeper..

Aside photography I have been doing 3D modeling quite a lot. So basically I hope my game would be  a showcase for my skills as a modeler. But also I love making music so I hope the game would have my sound world as well.

Making something like this takes a lot of time. And working alone with your computer all day alone makes one feel kind of crippling loneliness. But it’s something I have dealt before so I’ll be OK with this one too.

As with everything like this , the most important is the plan, design and the story and realistic scope. I won’t be able to make a full featured complete game, but just like small game with one level.

Wish me luck, because I will need it.

My Story of School Bullying

When I was in school, I was bullied really badly. Physical violence, even. I could not enjoy school and neither the activities after school. I was more or less alone, most of the time.

Sometimes this painful box is opened and I have to deal with the memory. It really sucks having to do that.

I know myself pretty well and basically I am no longer vulnerable to social ridicule. But here’s the truth; I was not always this strong. I was once a young boy like my five years old is now. I watched the world through those pair of eyes.

I was threatened by those bigger than me and was attacked physically too. Knitted wool hat that my mother made was stomped on puddle of dark November sleet, contents of my school bag emptied to ditch, I was pushed around and knocked over, and a piece of ice was thrown on my head and I lost consciousness and had temporary hearing loss.

School bullying is a problem as serious as war.

Those who bully others are total chicken shit.

Two steps for happiness

I believe there are two steps for ultimate happiness and freedom.

  1. Break the fear of social ridicule
  2. Break the fear of death.

First one enables  us to express ourselves freely. When we no longer care what others think of us, our heart will start to sing and we can do everything with full love.

If we can do that everyday, and live our lives fully like that,  the fear of death will start to lose grip on us and we will be completely free. Then, we may accept death naturally.

It is never easy, I know. It’s hard as hell. And nobody deserves to be ridiculed, or live in shadow of fear. But if we can be stubborn and stand by our ideas strongly, I believe the fear will gradually disappear. I have just begun this journey.

Talk about Women

Whether one cares about women and women’s rights is absolutely linked to the goodness of a person. Therefore I think that those who cannot respect women can’t respect life on earth.

Women are source of life on earth. Without women nobody would exist. Of course without men nobody would exist either but there’s difference; women do the hardest and most important job in making human life possible. After having sex man can take a trip abroad, man’s job is finished; the baby will grow inside woman just the same. Woman can host life, so women have unique insight life on earth. Much has been written about the phenomena of female intuition, sometimes they just have hunch on things that men cannot, frightening insight, even..

My father used to say “women exist only on the purpose to be enjoyed by men”. I was quite upset about this, I was about fourteen I think. I disagreed. I was bullied in school quite badly, and then I thought how awful his words are, as that means men can actually bully women. What a horrible bullshit are those words. Women must be protected and loved and admired.

But then, I do not by any means think women are weaker than men. Women are in many ways more flexible, thus they don’t break as easily as men. Again I think this is because of the “superpowers” of women; the strange intuition.

If feminist agenda is that women must have be able to do same thing as man, then I think it’s missing it’s point. I can’t understand women who opt-in to the military service in Finland. In Finland men and women are already equal and this does not need proving. Sure addition of women makes the nuisance and stupidity of army more tolerable for the men in there, but willingly joining such activity and risking one’s god given healthy body is beyond my understanding.

As a photographer I wish I can help to support women and their unique beauty. After all I was made by one, so I want to say thanks.

A way to relax

I remember a conversation with a friend some years ago. I was explaining my frustration with photography to her, and how I feel photography is actually kind of pointless.

She said to me something like this:

“Even if it’s just a hobby, I wish you keep taking photos.”

Forgetting all the serious stuff, artistic suffering, professional photography, the pain of having exhibitions and worrying if the photos become a cohesive series, could photography be simply just a way to relax, a catharsis?

I absolutely think so.

One of the reasons why I sold my X100 and switched to film camera is because I want my photography to be less digital thing; something I can do without touching a computer so that I can relax more.

Taking photos of people is a wonderful way for me to communicate with them, especially with people I don’t know that well. It’s a bit like journalist is sympathizing while making an interview, a kind of soul communication. In that space with a camera I can just be completely myself, it’s so liberating.

But shouldn’t photography have a goal and shouldn’t photographer try hard and have ambition to reach that goal? Maybe. But someone said, “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”. Maybe we don’t need to suffer all the time even if we feel pain, frustration and loneliness at times.

The truth is that I am completely fine with the probable fact that I will never be famous or “successful photographer” whatever that means.  After I die my books and negatives and prints will wither away and will eventually disappear completely.

But I still want to photograph. If not for other reason, just as a way to relax and be completely me for a moment.

Free

I like the word free,
and I doubt of common knowledge

Doctor

I went to have my x-rays. It seems that the situation of my lower vertebrae has not changed, the disc seems somewhat crushed, which causes inflammation. The doctor said it’s not bad enough for an operation to be necessary, but I should definitely take a rest and maybe consider taking medicine.

I decided to bear the pain and not take a medicine. I want to know what my body is telling me.

Pain is just a signal, and obscuring it wouldn’t feel right. I know my body is not stupid; it knows what it’s doing. Also drugs for this sort of thing makes me super sleepy and unable to really function. And I have to take care of my son.

For some reason I have dreamed of horses recently. I feel sad because I know I may not be able to ever ride one. I tried it before but my back instantly got hurt, even when just mildly trotting. Somehow the sitting position in the saddle was just not good for me.

But a thought came to my mind this morning. Maybe a horse could understand how I feel.  They carry humans weight on their backs but are still elegant and free. Horse’s pride is not obnoxious, it’s natural and beautiful.

Yes.. maybe a horse could understand.

Blue Monday

I have backache. Sometimes I get this piercing pain in my lower back, which feels like someone puts a knife between my vertebrae, I feel like electric is traveling down my left leg.

This is old injury I got when I was in compulsory military service in Finland. I fell into this black hole in forest in a kind of obstacle course. I said to the instructor that I’ll never make the leap. Of course it’s army so they made me do it, and I fell, three meters total, from top of the barrier to the damn hole. I was carrying a shovel on my back and it was left under my back, and my lower vertebrae took my weight, plus the shit I was carrying.

I am lucky to be able to walk. It seems the disc between the vertebrae was slightly damaged, I got very high fever and it hurt like hell for a month, but the nerve itself was not at least permanently damaged.

For most of the time I am fine. But sometimes the pain comes back, sometimes just due to the weather conditions. And trampolines and horses are out of question for me, because my back can’t seem to take the up&down movement.

It haven’t been this bad for a while, for several years at least. So I must go to hospital tomorrow to check it out and possibly get some medicines to ease the pain.

It’s hard to explain the pain by words. Pain is never just physical thing. It gets in your head, you can’t just say that my pain is in the scale of 8, because the scale is different.

Personally, I would very much like to forget the damn incident. Hell, I think I am entitled to some kind of compensation from Finnish government since as I was performing duty for my country I got permanent damage to my body. But I’m realist enough to realize it’s a lost cause to fight a battle I can’t win.

As I am taking care of my child alone, I have to find a way to take him to kindergarten tomorrow and then get myself to doctor. Walking is possible for small distance but it’s painful, and bicycle too. And it’s hard to imagine taking a taxi as sitting into the low vehicle is pure agony.

I don’t know if doctor can do anything as I’ve been to doctor many times over this, but I figure getting the painkillers wouldn’t hurt and maybe x-rays to see if the bones are basically where they should be.

I just have to be strong for now.

Pictures; My Debt

I went to Yoyogi park today to take pictures of girls. The weather was rainy so the park was almost empty. As we crossed the park through forest, it felt like scene from X-Files.

The model and her friend were both so unique and attractive people, and both of them were no strangers to camera and being photographed. So I could be myself naturally and press the shutter. Despite the rain, it was very comfortable time.

Taking pictures like this, even if it’s just once a while, is like a lifeline to me. I feel re-connected to the world and I can feel like I’m myself again. Using too much computer and not going out with my camera is definitely bad for my health (and for my back which has been rather painful these days).

I am forever in debt to those whose photo I can take. The only way to pay back this debt is to make good use of the images and make sure they are seen by people.

Indeed, it is my wish to be able to hold photo exhibition again. I skipped last year entirely, so I hope I can make something happen before this one is finished.

Anyway, tonight I developed first roll of the 72 images I shot today, and I am really delighted to see the result of exposed Fomapan 400, a film stock which I received from my friend in Czech Republic (Thanks Yoshimi!)

To photograph, is to see with one’s heart.

(Photos courtesy of Ito-san, a talented hair-makeup artist and photographer)