It has been almost two years since I last posted a full original song on YouTube. While that is kind of sad, it has been an odd time with many changes in my life. Hopefully I will now find the time and interest to concentrate on my music again.
I am really excited about “How to live”. Most of the song came together quite quickly but it took a long time to get it done. I started with a simple riff and built upon that. Before finalizing it, I asked my friend Helene Urva to add her vocals. I am very happy with how it ended up sounding. Hope you will enjoy it too.
Usually couples invite a photographer over when they want nice pictures of themselves. The impulse comes from them. For a while now, I have had an idea to find the couples I want to take pictures of myself. find people I think are interesting for whatever reason and ask them if they would like to do a photo session.
The idea is to make it very personal and very “them”. No forced dress up in a suit (that you would never otherwise wear) and hours in a make up chair. Just the couple as they are – as they seem to me.
This is the first set of images I made with this idea in my mind. It was such an effortless process. B and P were both very cool in front of the camera and we ended up with many great pictures.
Retrospectives are a nice way to analyse what has happened and whether the changes have been for better or for worse and I am all about analysing. In addition 2016 has been such an outlier, it should make for an interesting read years later when I discover this post.
A year ago I was still in the university. I had made the move from Sweden back to Estonia but my thoughts were still mostly back in Västerås concentrating on the defense that laid ahead. I traveled back there soon after the beginning of the year and did my presentation successfully. I received my PhD and that was that. From then on I was back in Estonia, thoughts and all.
Looking back now, moving to Estonia was for the better. Many things in my life have changed and while this process has been quite stressful at times, after four and a half years in Sweden, it was needed. Both me and Eva are more fulfilled now and can plan our lives more equally.
I have also reconnected with some of my dearest friends and gotten much closer to my family again. I see my parents almost weekly now and have found much more similarities with my brother than we had previously shared.
It has not only been about reconnecting. Making new close friends as an adult is difficult but necessary after being away for so long. For the most part however, it has gone surprisingly well. Nothing exemplifies this better than my friendship with Jim that was developed largely while recording the Popkulturistid podcast. We were friends before but this experience has brought us close and experiencing it in such a public way has been interesting.
Speaking about friends, as the year developed I began to look at my time in Sweden more often through rose-tinted glasses. While parts of the experience were very difficult, I met some incredibly lovely people who I miss very much. Social media is a great way to stay in touch but people I used to love talking to almost daily, are now often thousands of kilometers away. Takes a bit to get used to it.
Another thing that took a surprisingly long time to come to grips with was the fact that I was not a PhD student anymore. It had been such a big part of my identity that finally graduating left me feeling somewhat hollow. Happily it took me only a month to get back to work. Identifying myself as a governmental employee has been somewhat difficult for some reason but having such a practical outlet for my knowledge has been very rewarding and interesting. Plus, the people I work with are all very nice!
The year has also been defined by many side activities and projects that have helped me stabilize after such big changes. In addition to Popkulturistid, I have loved working as a co-author in the technology news portal Geenius. Having an outlet where I have to constantly think about the audience and consider both the accuracy and clarity of my texts has helped me grow as a writer immensely.
I have also had several very cool photo shoots this year. For a while I even toyed with the idea of doing something with my photography at a professional level but decided against it. Honestly, my skills are no where near that good anyway. The low stress experience of just going out with friends and making beautiful pictures together is much more what I need from photography at the moment. It is also something that we enjoy doing together with Eva, giving us a nice hobby to do as a couple.
So a year full of experiences as was to be expected with all the changes we had to make in our lives. From here, there will hopefully be some stability in which to grow both personally and professionally and enough change to keep things interesting.
I hope you all have great things to look back at today and expect form the year ahead.
The autumn is getting a bit more bleak here in the north. Since my friend Heidi wanted me to take some pictures of her this autumn we decided to use the clear day thus Sunday and headed to the Stroomi beach in Tallinn.
I didn’t really have too much in mind before the photo shoot in terms of inspiration. I had seen a very interesting session in Italian Vogue that had a cold and distant feeling. The weather and the empty beach had a similar sense to them but overall we took everything very freely. We were just walking around the beach for about an hour and looked for what worked.
This calm and attitude was really lovely and I thought we ended up with some really cool pictures.
It’s been a busy September and I haven’t really had much time for photography. It is a shame since there have been many nice days, however I hope I will have a chance to take some lovely photos with autumn foliage before the dark and wet autumn really hits.
The biggest photo-shoot I had in September was the album release concert for the female chamber choir Sireen. They presented their new album “Terra Incognita” in the House of the Blackheads hall in Tallinn and asked me to take pictures of the event.
The concert itself was amazing. The sound was perfect, they had good choreography and an amazing light show. The only problem for me was the lighting. While everything looked impressive, it was relatively dark so I had to bump up the ISO. Using the flash would have ruined the concert for the audience and I also had to be careful with moving around. The concert was acoustic so every sound I made was audible.
In the end I got some really nice pictures, albeit a little noisy. The members of the choir seemed happy though and that’s what really matters.
I have been thinking a lot about how I approach photography and what would make me better at taking photos of people. It is not an obvious thing. It takes a lot of practice and you really need to be able to connect with your subjects.
I tend to overanalyse (as is evident in this post) and worry too much about preparing. When the session starts I find I am too much stuck in my head and this takes it’s toll on my communication with the model. Understanding the problems helps but I’ve fount that talking to other photographers is really good as well.
I had a conversation about photographing people with Liisa from the wonderful Mellow and understood that I need to be more oriented on the person I am photographing and understand what they are feeling in the moment. Work with what the experience brings. Sounds simple enough but it is easy to forget it when you prepare things before the shoot and have too many things in your head.
I think I want to try to connect more with my models before each shoot and try to understand how the clothes they wear make them feel. What are they thinking about themselves in the outfit and how the background will play into it? A conversation that goes deeper than the basic “what will you wear and where will we shoot” may help bring more depth to the images and make things more interesting for me too.
I’ll end this post with a picture I took at an art exhibition called “Luminescent Art and Digital Sounds at Researchers Night” that I visited during the Researchers Night in Tartu. The artist is my friend Macey Muse who make a lot of amazing paintings. I didn’t get many other images of the event as my sensor got some odd dust on it but this one I like.