In the Land of Shadows

In the Land of Shadows

In our culture you don’t usually get positive feedback. There is a sort of consensus that no feedback is enough, so as long as your boss does not chew your ass off, you can assume you are doing a good job.

I’ve never gotten used to this and it has a tendency to drive me nuts occasio­nally. Therefore, it is a great pleasure — and a rare honor in this country — when somebody takes the trouble of commenting on your work.

JournalistiI was so proud when I got the Journalist , our National Press Associa­tion’s paper this morning and found this on the first page.

The print does not do justice to the image (see the original in the end of my Berlin post, Aug. 24th), but that is not important. The point is that somebody took the trouble of reading my image and trans­lated it to words.

The morning of the javelin compe­tition in Berlin I got a SMS from a friend of mine, Elina Paasonen. “The last day, dude, do your best! The majority of people only look at pictures, but luckily we are some who also know how to read them. Have fun!”

I don’t know if I had fun — I tried to do my best (the compe­tition was a catastrophe) but in the end I thought I didn’t do that bad.

Jaakko Alatalo — the photo­grapher and journalist who wrote the article ‑took the trouble of doing what Elina had said — reading an image — and he turned it into words and for this, I bow humbly. With the risk of sounding conceited, let me translate his commentary (and I totally acknow­ledge the lack of my skills in this effort) :

In the Land of Shadows

(…) The image was published at least on the opening page of Lapin Kansa — it was the main image with a long caption. The image is such a clear and sharp description of the long trail of our javelin team was taking — in the land of shadows — that the viewer gets a strong sense of it even without reading the caption.

The image is witty and original, standing aside from the mainstream of sports images. Tero Pitkä­mäki’s shadow, upsidedown on the musical scoresheet, which is built up from the white lines between the tracks- plays the blue note, slightly out of tune , of our javelin­team’s struggle. A tale much stronger than the cliché of the thousand words.

Even the coloring of the track and the lines is carefully thought of: blue and white as in our flag.

The direction of the shadow tells its own tale: left to right going down, crashing just like the graphics we see on economic pages these gloomy days we are living.

On the whole: funny, ironic and right to the point on a subject which is almost sacred to us Finns — the javelin.”

I do recognize talent in words when I see it — and I thank Jaakko for these beautiful lines.

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