Lucky Accidents

Golgatha, Virkkula, 2016

Sometimes I am being asked, whether I plan my shots or whether I just find my pictures while roaming the outdoors. The truth is: both. Most of my photography is indeed a result of careful planning and sometimes involves returning to places often. Some pictures therefore took months to make. But there is no denying that lucky accidents happen. As it was with the picture above.

I was returning from a shoot at Kuusinki river in the Eastern part of Kuusamo, Finland. The weather had been cloudy and rainy all day, but now in the early evening the cloud cover was breaking. I was driving on the road near the little village of Virkkula when I was literally stopped in my tracks by a sight besides the road. I stomped on the brake and looked for a place to stay the car. Don’t try this at home! The empty roads in Northern Finland are among the only few places where such a maneuver is safe – and yes, I looked in the back mirror first.

But there I was, with a small hill where the forest had been cut down and only a few seeding trees were left. Behind the hill the breaking clouds moved quickly and on the ground shrubs and grass formed a patchwork pattern. All this gave the place an eery, otherworldly character and the Japanese term wabi-sabi jumped into my mind.

Unfortunately, these moments when light and scene come together are almost impossible to plan ahead. The only thing the photographer can do in advance is to learn seeing it.

But there I was, completely immersed in the event, and so I didn’t notice that I had collected a little crowd of spectators that were curiously wondering about this crazy figure jumping around in the grass.

My fan club. Unfortunately offline, so no “Likes” from them…

The conclusion? Yes, sometimes (maybe even often) even the most diligently planning and pre-visualizing photographer makes photos served by sheer dumb luck. Which, however, still proves the point that photography as an art is still predominantly the art of seeing.


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