2/21/2015

DAYS LIKE THIS



Flashback to last summer. Me, Emilia and Vilma are having a picnic next to Aura River, which instead of its usual brownish hue is closer to silver, sparkling brightly as if it would be eagerly celebrating the sunshine together with us. My own celebration has taken the form of good company and strawberries and cherries and blueberries. It's wonderful. Just lying there. At that moment I was able to let go of everything else and just take in the now and enjoy the hell out of it! My skin absorbing the warmth radiating from above, the sweetness of a strawberry melting in my mouth and letting a satisfying series of laughters tumble up from my gut as we were enjoying each others company. I love myself a good laughter. One that leaves your stomach hurting. One that leaves you struggling for breath. That's what I often end up with when I'm spending time with people who get me. I embrace the laughter and really just surrender myself to it. Sometimes I laugh so hard and loud that I afterwards get embarrassed, hoping that I haven't disturbed anyone. This song reminds me of the kind of good feeling that builds up to a laughter. It made me laugh inside :)


  

2/08/2015

MY MIND IS DRAINED FROM WRITING ESSAYS, HENCE THE TITLE


PHOTOGRAPHER: SARA LEHTOMAA
MODEL: MERI NIEMI / FASHIONTEAM
MAKEUP & STYLING: SARA LEHTOMAA

2/01/2015

ILLUMINATE


JACKET - ZARA    |    KNIT - ZARA    |    SCARF - LINDEX    |    EARRINGS - LINDEX    |    BOOTS - DINSKO

1/24/2015

SETTLE DOWN


PHOTOS FROM A FEW WEEKS BACK WHEN I WAS SPENDING MY WEEKEND IN HELSINKI.


I'm currently writing from the depths of my bed, from the midst of sheets and tissues. I've been sick at home for a couple of days now and already feel like a prisoner. It would all be ok, I guess, if I was able to focus my concentration on school work, but feeling like crap is making that close to impossible. My mind won't operate properly and it's getting me frustrated. Especially since I have a mountain of tasks to complete relating to school, school and (you guessed it) school. A frightening amount of essays to write and more texts to read than I have time for. I just want to dig myself a tiny hole in the ground and lay there in peace and quiet until the storm is over. But, of course, the storm won't be going anywhere. I'm not prepared to completely let go of all of that. But what I will (or at least should) do, is learn not to care so much. And more importantly to prioritize. Because, as much as I hate to admit it, I've noticed lately that I'm not as happy as I used to be. The stress is clearly wearing me down, which in turn makes me unmotivated. It's not that I don't like school, it's just that it's gotten to the point when all it's too much. Being a perfectionist, I have to face the fact that I can't be good at everything, and certainly don't have to be. I need to just take a step back and settle down.

In this period I have this course about Shakespeare, and before class starts we usually jokingly pose the question "To go or not to go?". Our teacher is great and all but I'm slowly but surely starting to regret picking that course. I quite honestly have no idea what I have to say about Shakespeare in the 10-page essay I'm due to write at the end of the course. I would say short and concise are words that describe my writing, so... Lord give me strength. Hope you guys are doing better than I! And one last thing. I'm really excited to hear new tunes from Purity Ring again! I warmly recommend all of you to check out "Begin Again" (below)!


  

1/18/2015

KÄRT & ELINA


PHOTOGRAPHER: SARA LEHTOMAA
MODEL: KÄRT, ELINA / FASHIONTEAM
MUAH: TIMO VUORIMIES
STYLING: SARA LEHTOMAA


Some portraits I took for FashionTeam of two of their new models, Kärt and Elina. We headed down to Aboa Vetus, a museum here in Turku, and shot some pretty awesome stuff among the remains and ruins of medieval times (and in the midst of a herd of Russian tourists for that matter). I also had a wonderful time getting to know the girls. Meeting new people is always intriguing. Reading what kind of person they are from the way they present themselves, guessing whether it's a charade or what they are actually like. My boyfriend claims he can see from a persons eyes whether they're "real" or disguising their true self with something else. I wonder whether that's possible (in some cases perhaps but I doubt it would work all the time). I myself can't say I can do that just by looking at a person in the eye. If only. But I would say I'm pretty good at reading a person based on a fairly short conversation, the way they move, speak, their facial expressions, giving off what they're all about. But I guess that's just a matter of paying attention really. Sometimes, though, undoubtedly, even my mind can do tricks. In the end you can never be entirely sure of a stranger. It's kind of scary really. I'm the type of person who likes to believe the best of people, which I admit sometimes isn't too rational a thing to do (speaking from experience, it has indeed several times driven me into rather unpleasant situations).

1/07/2015

THE COLDEST OF SEASONS


PHOTOGRAPHER: SARA LEHTOMAA
MODEL: MERI NIEMI / FASHIONTEAM
MAKEUP & STYLING: SARA LEHTOMAA


This series is a reflection of the coldest of seasons. One that we are currently experiencing up north here in Finland. With the infinitely gray sky hiding behind it our life force, a great wave of depression washes over the whole population, a phenomenon we call kaamosmasennus in Finnish. Thanks to it, at times we may feel like simply sinking into hibernation. Especially since the Finnish winter occupies most of the year. Gloominess and sadness lives within many of us, getting a chance to take over whenever we aren't subduing it with things that bring joy to our lives. The smoke represents that joy temporarily leaving, and the fabrics wrapping the model are the mantle of gloom beating us to the ground holding us down, most of the time defeating our resistance.

Ok, I may be slightly overdramatizing the subject but this temporary depression caused by winter is very real. The freezing cold, the lack of sunlight and people staying inside avoiding to face these things (and hence a decline in socializing to some extent) are real. And when overdosed they don't exactly have a positive effect on the human psyche. But like everything in this world, this issue isn't black and white. One of the good things about having to endure these things is the huge appreciation of summer that one gains with it. The excitement and amount of enjoyment that one experiences after six months of hell (as I like to put it) is really unexplainable. One of the reasons why I actually like living in a country with all four seasons. It's just that when you're on the third month and halfway through the misery, you can't help but wish that it was just a little bit shorter.


1/04/2015

BEYOND KNOWLEDGE


A PHOTO FROM A COUPLE OF YEARS BACK OF MY BOYFRIEND'S GREAT GRANDMOTHER (UNRELATED TO THE TEXT).



One week ago I met a person who was coming close to his last moments. It was my first (at least that I know of) encounter with a soul that is readying itself to depart to whatever it is that awaits it in the life beyond the one we know of. That person was my grandfather. I had never really gotten to know him all that well, and merely the thought of visiting him in that state made me feel uneasy. Maybe because I was afraid I wouldn't know how to act adequately. How was I supposed to show a person I barely knew that I cared, that I felt sympathy for him and that I wanted to be supportive. I just didn't have a clue how to covey any of it. I felt helpless. And in some way I felt it wasn't justified for me to be there in the first place. What had I ever done for him? Nothing really. I felt bad. But at the same time I knew I had no reason to feel guilt. He wasn't the kind of person who had actively been around his grandchildren, but was spending much of his time alone, as far as I knew. I feel the need to be very careful when writing about him, choosing my words with great caution. After all I didn't really know him. This is merely my own experience. So keep that in mind while reading.

We were driving down a slippery road to a slightly more remote place than I had expected. Mom was sitting in front of me in the passengers seat and dad was driving the car. I felt a tension slowly building up in me as we were approaching the building. The nursing home was aslo different than I had envisioned. In stead of the factorylike typical hospital building, before me stood a very low house not at all intimidating but inviting, out in the cold December morning. I waited for mom and dad and then walked together with them from the small parking lot to the main door and stepped through it into the building. The warmth hit my face immediately. We walked down the hall into an area which was probably meant for socializing. There were tables, a smaller side table serving coffee and other goodies and a TV in the corner. There were Christmas decorations all over the place and it felt cozy. But there was this weird smell. I can't even describe it, but that was the only thing about that place that I found unpleasant.

Someone was standing behind a glazed counter, welcoming us and asking who we were visiting. Mom did the talking and we continued our way walking down another hall. At our right, attached to a door was a small piece of paper on which his name was written. I really didn't know what to say. I stuck to a "hi" as we entered the room. I couldn't help but noticing how different he looked, skinnier and paler than usual, and I tried not to look as if I was goggling too much. I'm pretty sure most people in that situation would want to be treated normally, or anyway as normal as one can act in those circumstances. I can imagine how much it must suck to spend the end of your time around people constantly reminding you of how much it hurts. If I ever find myself in that position (that is if I don't die a quick and sudden death) I wouldn't want the people I love to concentrate solely on the pain. But I'd neither want them to deny the fact that our time together on Earth is over. Surely it's not easy, but I believe one should be there, completely present, and not start mourning while the person about to leave is still alive. Of course right now I have no idea how it will feel like once I'm in that position. Not yet. I can't imagine it. All I know for sure is that if I were to leave at this age I would be very sad. I like this world we live in, and I feel like there's so much to live for and that I still want to experience a countless amount of things. I don't know what happens after my body is dead, but so far I've (most of the time) enjoyed myself and have liked being a human, and wouldn't want it to end quite yet. But once you've lived for many years. How will that be like? Obviously it completely depends on the person. There are so many unique experiences of life. One may feel fulfilled, another eager to end the misery. But if one is suffering from great physical pain caused by the old age that may alone be a reason to hurry the process. In the end, it all depends on the fact of whether you've accepted death or not. At that moment I would've wanted to ask him what he feels like, but I couldn't. I didn't know him well enough. I didn't know what he would feel about such a conversation. 

Keeping quiet, sitting in a corner, merely as an observer watching my mother and father making conversation, I felt out of place (I wasn't really sure whether he wanted me there or not). I noticed there was something different about my mothers voice as she was speaking to him, a sort of melancholic tone to it. After all it was her father. Dad tried his best to keep up a cheery atmosphere by chatting about sports, technology and multiple other things that would be considered casual topics, but failed. The moody ambiance had taken over the room completely. There were long bits of silence between conversation. I felt a lump in my throat growing and noticed my eyes were watering. The corner of my mouth started twitching and I hid my face by turning it away, supposedly looking out of the window beside me. I forced myself to think of something else and managed to get my reaction under control. This was weird, I thought. Of course, it was sad to see anyone in that shape. But why did I react so strongly when I wasn't even close to him? Then I realized that I was thinking about my mother and imagining what she felt like. I remembered what it'd been like when her mother had died. It was many years ago, when I was a kid, but I remembered clearly that moment when she had found out. A phone call in the middle of the night. We were living in Sweden at that time and my aunt living in Finland had conveyed the message. I remembered her loud crying, and myself crying with her.

I did speak with him later on, but very shortly. I told him what was going on in my life at the moment and he listened, reacting only with nods and vague sounds. He could barely speak, any voice formation requiring a great amount of effort. Even as I hadn't directly asked him about his feelings concerning the situation I could tell he seemed to have accepted the fact that it was time to leave, that he didn't fear. Of course, the fact that he had turned down the treatments for his lung cancer, alone indicated that he didn't see any point in staying and enduring, that he was ready.

With no definite answer to one of the greatest questions of mankind there is really no point in spending your life fearing. Fearing something that is unknown. Be it the blazes of hell or your body mouldering in the ground, your energy releasing into the atmosphere, it's inevitable. A natural part of life. Our ability to attach ourselves to other people, to in a sense become part of them, makes it hard to accept what's natural. But you might want to think of it this way: that person will really exist as long as you do, because he or she lives on in your mind. Your own perception of that person goes nowhere. Even as it may feel like one, death is not a tragedy, it's just one part of the cycle of life. But sometimes it shocks us by arriving unexpectedly early, when we haven't gotten used to the thought. And a sudden death involving an accident of some sort may feel especially unjust. Unfair. But life is the result of natural processes and pure chance, whether we like it or not. And we should learn to accept that fact, not letting it affect our lives in negative ways too much. Besides, who knows, maybe there's something as equally exciting waiting for us beyond our human lives.

12/28/2014

GIFT SHOPPING IS NOT MY THING


SWEATSHIRT - OASAP *    |    SKIRT - ZARA    |    KNEE SOCKS - FIORELLA *    |    HEADPHONES - EXIBEL AUDIO SERIES



Some of my favorite things compiled in one outfit. The sweater really struck a chord with me thanks to the splendid text. What can I say, I love chocolate. And black and white are both colors that always seem to work for me, something I feel extremely comfortable in. I received the headphones as a Christmas / anniversary gift from my boyfriend. Successful presents like this always make me feel like shit. The presents I give are hardly ever that good for some reason. After so many failures I've learned to mentally brace myself (see image below depicting this). Yet another thing I'll have to work on, I guess. I did however manage to get both my mother and brother decent gifts, which they seemed to like a lot (unless they were lying to my face). And my brother. He gave me a selfie stick. A selfie stick. Selfie. Stick. I realize it was a joke, but for a moment I was a tiny bit offended.

In other news I'm pretty hyped about all of the stuff that's lying ahead. Yesterday we were shopping some furniture at IKEA and on Tuesday we'll start bringing all of our stuff to the apartment. Have I ever mentioned how much I love interior decorating? Flea markets here I come. And obviously I can't wait to get to live with the person whom I love so much. I couldn't be more excited. Other things that lie ahead include photo shoots (yes, several of them) and a couple of trips with (and to) great friends in January. At the same time, though, I'm really exhausted. My minor, no, make that non-existent, exercising has led me to the point where I feel like I'm destroying myself. The problem is that unless I make it into a routine I won't get myself to do it as often as would be best for me. Once a month or so simply doesn't cut it. Another problem is motivation, the only source of being the goal of not feeling like shit all the time. Which is, I guess, something fairly important to strive for if one wants a happy fulfilling life, but for some reason that's not enough to keep me going. I wish I acted rationally in this case. But we're not too rational beings when it comes down to it, are we?




12/24/2014

HOME ALONE


PHOTOGRAPHER: SARA LEHTOMAA
MODEL: JADE THAN
STYLING: JADE & SARA


Spent yet another fun day with Jade styling some awesome outfits, shooting and just hanging. This was a couple of months ago, though. Time flies by. And today it's Christmas eve. I don't consider Christmas in any way a special day, it's just like any other day but with the addition of particularly delicious food and heaps of it. I was planning to read until my eyes hurt and listen to some sweet music. And of course spend some time with my beloved family, who for once wont bicker because it's Christmas. Why can't it always be Christmas? Why can't people always be this nice? I think they could. At least most of the time, it's understandable that everyone of us every now and then have a bad day, but I really hate it when some people around me always have to concentrate on the negatives. It's pointless and stupid. "I'm just being a realist." No, realist and pessimist are not synonyms. Fuck off. You're ruining your life and upsetting people around you. There, I said it. Stop whining and get yourself together.

After writing this I realized that I myself actually might come across as a pessimist to you readers, with all the things that I hate that I have the habit of bringing up (mostly winter) in my writings. But I can assure you that even as I may hate those things and admit it, I don't live in a bubble of purely negative energy and I certainly don't release it on others around me (occasionally...). I realize that there is a yin and yang to life, there's both good and bad (or at least energy that we perceive as either positive or negative, I don't believe in pure evil and good). It's up to you to decide how to cope with it. I've managed through doing the things that I love to balance out the negative parts of life. Doing that and not taking life so damn seriously (which I'm still kind of working on) makes living so much more enjoyable, for everyone really. Anyhow, hope you have a pleasant holiday.

12/23/2014

AMBIENT



SOME RANDOM SHOTS TAKEN AT DIFFERENT PHASES OF MY LIFE. 


As the title suggests this post is about ambient music. One of the things that I find very enjoyable when it's done well. This genre, often times devoid of any lyrics or at least putting little emphasis on them, concentrates instead on evoking a certain atmosphere. That is, the way it sounds becomes of extreme importance, since it's the only thing that defines the music. I guess, normally you would want to have a nice balance between thought-provoking lyrics and a sound that gets you the chills. I have to say, though, that sometimes I neglect the lyric part if I like the sound to the extent that it almost compensates for boring lyrics. As a matter of fact, a couple of years ago I didn't really give a damn about what they were singing as long as it sounded good. But today, after my boyfriend having introduced the exciting world of lyrics, paying attention to that side of music as well has made me change my music listening habits. Basically it has brought another layer to music, one which makes it even more enjoyable. Boring or, what you often encounter today, (especially on the radio) downright irritating lyrics, be it Taylor Swift or Pitbull, makes me not want to listen to something. Quite honestly I start feeling nauseous when I listen to what today's top artist have to say. And what does that say about the majority of people inhabiting this planet? I'm sure a lot of things, but one of them being the sad fact that we convince ourselves of being "too busy" to really pay attention to what's happening around us... 

Before this turns into a rant, lets get back to ambient music. When the main focus is away from the obvious (and sometimes not so obvious) meaning, that means the artist will have to find a way through sound in order to create an atmosphere that is as emotive as possible to keep it interesting. This genre of music is also very easy to listen to. And what I mean by that is that getting absorbed into sounds is easier than having to interpret words. Which also means that it's great for relaxation, and for "letting go", since it's a place very easy to get lost into. Another great thing about it is the fact that there's almost an infinite amount of interpretations to be made out of the music. No lyrics means the music is what you feel when you hear it. Every individual will channel it differently and have a unique picture painted in their mind when listening, since we are all composed differently.

One thing that particularly fascinates me is collecting sounds from your environment (sounds that aren't created with a musical instrument) and compiling them into a track. At least for me it tends to wake a particularly abundant stream of mental images. When I close my eyes I may sometimes be able to build a very detailed and precise imaginary environment based on the sounds. This type of music is exactly what Swedish artist Alex Boman did, and VICE just did a Lost and Found episode on him recording sounds all over Stockholm, his home city, and showing the result of the final track created from those. The idea of the Lost and Found series is to get artists to pay homage to their home cities through music. I really like the concept of the series, it's interesting to see what sides of their city the artists bring up and highlight. Especially in this case since Stockholm is my childhood home as well. Boman's track ended up being very light and peaceful. I would imagine it be a good listen along with something to read (I often listen to music while I read, especially when sitting in a bus, to block all the other unwanted noise). Will have to give it a try. What are your thoughts on the track (listen below), the Lost and Found series (watch below), or just generally this genre of music? I'd love to hear! Also you can read the post regarding this particular episode on noisey's website by clicking here.