A Walk On the Memory Lane: Rock Summer 1988

A Walk On the Memory Lane: Rock Summer 1988

Multimedia Rocksummer 1988
Click the image to enter the multimedia

This is not brilliant, far from it — but it is different, I dare say. Something I did now in the spring and finally I thought it is time to show it. Show that there are options — that it is not that hard to do something this simple, yet totally different. That there are possi­bi­lities outside the legacy print — other ways of visual, journa­listic expression beyond the obvious.

It’s about as simple a web-design as you can have (no css, basically using just iFrames /embedding), but it works. If your browser does not display correctly, then sorry about that. But this is an experiment — and I am basically a photo­grapher, not a coder. And it works with Mac and iPad, Safari and Firefox… and if you are using IE and Windows and… well, the obvious question is “Why are you?” :-)

It is also a very personal tale… But see for yourself, here we go. Click to see A Walk On the Memory Lane: Rock Summer 1988

And see below for technical aspects of this, some background etc.


About a year ago I was approached by mr. Markku Veija­lainen, who told me he was planning a TV-documentary on the Rock Summer 1988 concert we were both part of over twenty years ago and asked me a) did I have any pictures left and b) would I be available for a short interview.

My answer was yes and yes… and I was immediately flown back in time twenty-two years. Memories, flash­backs… I got totally drawn into it. Anyway, I decided to do a small multi­media piece on it, sort of an experi­mental thing, using all the possible techniques/approaches I could think of. Make it as simple as possible — yet as diverse in terms of story­telling as I could.

Techical Side of This

So purely technically, let me walk you thru it. I’d never done anything like this — I don’t think anybody has — I didn’t know how to do it, but I figured it out along the way.

The opening screen is a flash­based audios­li­deshow — without the audio, that is. Images change every 2,5 sec. or if you click on the main image. The “story behind” done with InDesign, then into psd and thru lightroom into a gallery using jpg’s. Image galleries are JavaScript based, done thru LR plugins, panorama is FPP/FFC (previous version), video is streamed from Vimeo, embedded, cut with FCP. I have rights to use the video footage which I blended with my own images. “Personal favorites” is a JS based gallery done in LR, and “All the Images 1988” is a dynamic database (director / MySQL) slide show.

The splash screen and the panorama are the only ones using flash, so if you are using an iPad, there is a JS redirect on the links, so you won’t even notice it, but you are forwarded to an alternate page using static images and HTML5 CSS 3D — trans­for­ma­tions for the panorama. The iPad version of the panorama is not very stable, probably due to the rather large cube faces.

So basically: very, very simple. Done with plugins or software with GUI, so very little coding necessary.


Well, because you can… :-) No, seriously: I try to speak in favor of alternate ways of visual story­telling and this is one attempt to that direction. That maybe — just maybe — our legacy media would start using something else than static images and masses of text as a form of expression one day. Maybe one day… YLE Teema was totally thrilled about this and their website eventually links to this content. There is kind of irony in that, don’t you think? The most innovative our our media, YLE Teema? Legacy print, hello?

History in Progress

Yours Truly — some twenty odd years ago.…

I let my small multi­media do all the talking — but make sure you reserve the 20th August 2011 on your agenda as the documentary plus the whole concert will be then on — yes, you guessed it — on Yle Teema.

But I cannot resist the temptation of mentioning one tiny thing. It is the revelation I had when going thru my images (took me about a week to go thru all of them) that the past becomes history much faster than what we think. That something we think just happened yesterday becomes the living history of the nation much sooner than we ever thought possible.

I feel it was only a moment ago I was in Estonia. Yet, that guy who is in the image… Jesus, that was almost a quarter of a century ago. I still had hair, for one thing. And the way people dressed, what they ate, the newspapers on the walls… — my God, it seems it was a totally different era.

Very pragma­tically, if there is one piece of advice I can give to my younger colleagues who are presently documenting the world they are living in: do it carefully, with respect… and archive you images properly. You won’t be sorry.

15 Replies to “A Walk On the Memory Lane: Rock Summer 1988”

  1. Hey,
    Great pictures — really tell a story. But not the whole story. Some of us won’t be able to watch the show on the 20th of August, so I’d be very interested for you to summarise in a blog about that day in 88. I’m an Englishman and have been living in Tallinn for almost 6 years. These days, the city and country is so advanced, you forget that it was part of the Soviet Union. But it was. Even in England, PIL and music in the late 80’s was consi­dered radical — but in Soviet Estonia.. I can only imagine. It would be fantastic to read your words about what the atmosphere was like, how PIL reacted to the crowd — how the crowd reacted to them. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like — and seeing the crowd all waving Estonian flags, really suprised me — it’s like the singing revolution in it’s rehearsal stages :)
    Hope you can do something!

    1. Hi James -

      it WAS amazing… but I am not the one to tell the best tales of that. You mentioned you’ve been living in Tallinn for 6 years — I’m sure you ask people around fourty or so and you will be surprised to notice how many of them actually were present there.
      One thing I never forget were the search­lights in the harbour, sweeping the sea looking for people trying to escape… It was just surreal — and yet, it was reality alright at the time.
      I went back couple of years later, when the tanks were rolling on the streets ; I was also taking pictures at the TV-tower when some people welded themselves in there… But somehow, the whole of ROck Summer experience had something more, something magical about it — and even the eventual happe­nings leading to indepen­dence do not have the same feeling to them in my memory. “The singing revolution in its rehearsal stages” — as you so nicely put it.
      I have not seen myself the documentary I refer to (which will be on the 20th August on YLE Teema) so I cannot really comment on in first hand. But I’ve been told that you cannot watch it dry eyed and that without exception, everyone who was asked to participate said immediately yes, as “there was something magical in the air there…”
      So I will be glued to the screen that day… and I’m sorry if you miss it; but: nowadays, if you want to see something, you are bound to find it somewere if you just search for a while.
      Thanks for checking this out.


  2. Hi!

    Nice work, but my browser says that the user of the Vimeo account has disabled the embedding of the videos…so they can’t be seen.

    1. Hi -

      thanks for feedback — very valuable always to hear the bug reports… as naturally one remains unaware of any problems if nobofy tells you.
      But: I did check it and there should be no problem. Did you just try to see it on a normal browser, as it was? Or, did you try to download it or embedd it? Because: I set the security so that it cannot be embedded anywhere (apart from my three domains) nor can you download the sourcevideo.
      Could you tell me which platform, which OS, which browser so I could take a deeper look?

      The link we are talking about is this, right? http://www.docimages.org/clients/nouhau/rs1988/content/video.html

      Hold it: you mentioned “denied embedding” i.e. you did — or somebody did — try to embedd. Yup, that’s definitely denied. So that leads me to think that somebody has embedded the whole work into their own page (to get clicks or whatever), but in that case the vimeo security feature kicks in. Try the original.



  3. ’ I’m sure you ask people around fourty or so and you will be surprised to notice how many of them actually were present there.…’

    Yep, I was there, one of the gals of Your photo nr 18 and it sure was magic that happened almost yesterday.I find it difficult to describe in words but I guess the largest part of that magic was a sense of innocense and eternal hope for that undesc­ri­bable yet unreac­hable BETTER.This truly was an age of innocence and not only for those who were young but for everyone who was open and ready for it. You only really long and struggle for a change when something really is wrong and living in SU gave no chance for a free spirit to breathe and thrive.Something had to change and everything that happened during Rock Summer 88 both on and off stage symbo­lized that mental shift, the fact itself that RS could be organized and really happened was a triumph over the bad and the evil.Sounds romantic and looking back, it really was romantic. Nothing in the present day Estonian life resembles even remotely that spirit then and there.We have landed,we are real,we are older, things have changed, all that (freedom) is done.
    Your photos are truly beautiful and they really bring back those days, in my and my friends’ minds, so thanks for doing that job and looking keenly forward to see that documentary too.….


    1. Kairi -

      that is one of the nicest, most touching feedback I have ever received. This was the reason I did my little multi­media thing, to reach — maybe — people like you. To share it — again.

      I thank you so much.


  4. You say:

    Early days of February, the place looks very much like it did in 1988. The tower on the right has been turned into a light­house — back in 1988 it was in total ruins.”

    It is a false memory. The tower has always been used as a light­house and it has not been in disrepair since it was built in 1959. The arc has been repaired a few times, but the tower has always been solid.

    1. :-) i take you word for it… I remember climbing upstairs and kicking all kind of debris out of the way when I was taking pictures. I remember it was just dirt, dirt, dirt all over, no lights.… Plus somehow I seem to remember that I had a feeling it was dangerous when I was shooting, as there were places where you could have fallen down…

      I remember it just had a feeling of something which is deserted and not used anymore…

      But — as I said, I absolutely take your for it.

      What makes me really happy is the fact that I realize there are people now on your side of the gulf taking a look at these images — even taking the time to read the small story I wrote about it. As any profes­sional photo­grapher will tell you; that is what makes us tick…

      Thank you for taking a look and for commenting.


  5. Hello.

    Holly shit. This is really something. This weekend we have a big rock concert in Järva­kandi ( RABAROCK 2011) and Jonny Rotten (PIL) is after year 1988 again here. This is really nostalgic overview what great show we had 20 years ago . I was then 18 years old boy and take part of this. To see Epput and Juice and all Estonian management etc.. I really like this photo set. . You are a really GREAT MAN. THANK YOU to share it !!


    1. Thank you Madis -

      it’s for comments like yours I do what I do. If it was for money only, I’d do something else… It’s the feeling that you share something together which is the greatest reward — as almost any photo­grapher will tell you.

  6. tried to find myself on the images, no success. was 13y old that time, was really fun festival and interesting times

  7. Surfed through the photos knowing I’d find myself there any moment. So I did, perfectly in focus on #199!

  8. Great pictures. I was there also.
    Strangely, the most interesting pictures are not the ones about musicians but the ones depicting ordinary people. Johnny Rotten on stage — this is nice but not very special. People reading communist newspapers on the wall — this is priceless.

    1. Thank you -

      I totally agree. It was funny, those days one thought of that as totally normal… I only had ONE picture of that. I’ve said it before and I all the time try to tell my students nowadays: it is amazing how soon something turns into living history; and one should take special care to document it carefully and to archive the stuff with the greatest or care.

      Thanks for checking this out and thank you for commenting.


  9. Good work and amazing (REAL ) pictures on FILM(last century stuff…) I’m the singer of an italian band that had the pleasure to play in Tallinn in that wonderful 1988 Festival ‚my band was BALKAN AIR. I’d like to find some pictures or other stuff about it..! Please! Thanks a lot.ESTONIA in my heart x ever.

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