Finnfoto Award

Finnfoto Award

(Kuva yllä tänään ilmes­ty­västä Kamera-lehdestä 12/2012, jossa pieni haastettelu). Kirjoitan tänään englan­niksi — toisella kotimai­sella kuten aina sanon. Perus­telen tämän jutun lopussa.

Remember Jaws? “Just when you thought it was safe to go into the water again…?”

I think this was the opening line of the trailer… Anyway, what can I say? I wrote in the beginning of my previous post that what really disturbs me is the lack of feedback… The past couple of days have — well, if not proven me wrong, but then at least compen­sated for it exponentially.


First: thank you all for the honest, lovely feedback to my previous post. I’m totally blown away by the reaction. It’s been read by over 15 000 people — and shared by thousands. My wife who is a journalist in our local paper in Porvoo got a nice email from Itä-Uudenmaan pelas­tus­laitos (our local Fire- and rescue dept.) thanking for the feedback (I posted it in the comments). Plus the emails, phone calls, SoMe commentary, etc. I am totally mesmerized.

Naturally I hoped my sincere thanks would be read by as many as possible — but I was not prepared for this. See it in perspective: this is a country (and language) of less than 6 mil. people. Half of the population of Manhattan… Totally amazing number of people reacted to it.

I am news profes­sional and one of the unwritten “rules” is that good news is not news. Nobody cares about good news. Looking at the stats of this post and how people have been sharing it, I beg to differ. People do care.

For years (like twenty years ago) I had a piece of paper glued on my laptop. A quote from Roy Gutman, who just then had won a Pulizer: “The story that matters is what happens to people”. Looking at the the commentary of the previous post, I am reminded of this.

Another quote comes to mind — this one by Robert Chang, a CG artist I used to follow actively some years ago:

”We are only human, fragile and flawed, but in our moments of radiance we are capable of such profound beauty. It is those moments of radiance that makes this life worth living.”

I find my “moment of radiance” reading the commentary of the previous post. One more time: I thank you all.

Finnfoto Award

Second set of feedback: got an award yesterday. Sure, have gotten some before — and it always feels nice, even great — i.e. that what you do is appreciated. And yet, this time is different, it is huge. It is a great, great honor. I am sorry, I totally lack the adjectives…

The award is given by Finnfoto, which is the mother/umbrella organization (so to speak) of all our photo­graphic organiza­tions, including press, nature, adver­tising, etc. photo­graphy in this country,

And I did not get it because I snapped (God I hate that word…) a nice picture or entered a compe­tition of some kind. The award is given for a person who has “substan­tially influenced the development of Finnish photo­graphy and created possi­bi­lities for greater unders­tanding and appreciation of photo­graphy” (my trans­lation). I was honored by this award for defending the rights of photo­graphers, their right to maintain and control their own imagery.

Looking at the list of names who have received this award in the past (all 15 of them) leaves me speechless. Some of these are household names as photo­graphers, some of them are names on the back of photo­graphy books on my shelf.

I know: I turned fifty this year, but I feel like a fifteen year old rookie next to these icons of our photo­graphic history.

I am deeply, deeply honored.

Personal anecdotes

I just want to share (today I am allowed to bable, right?) two funny things which happened yesterday and the day before.

First, Finnfoto sends a press release a day in advance, with EMBARGO until 12 o’clock tomorrow written with red ink.

Well, naturally, lot’s of my friends work in the media. So my Facebook Wall starts immediately having “Congrats”-messages from e.g. Journa­listi (trade newspaper), STT/Lehtikuva (the biggest news/picture agency) and Journa­lis­ti­liitto (our union). I’m all smiling, pleased and happy… but respond immediately: “…like, I am sorry but I thought there was an embargo until tomorrow..?” and everyone goes like “oh shit, damn.…”

Kinda funny, makes you feel good when your personal friends, competent and profes­sional news people just get so carried away that they — just for a moment ‑drop their profes­sional guard. No, it was not negli­gence, it was just plain funny and I so laughed aloud (and appreciated it) when I saw it. (You can actually see some of that corres­pon­dence on my FB Wall…)

Then yesterday, when the news was released :-) : I was despe­rately trying to edit a series of pictures to my client. Working on assignment I only had my 11″ Air with me. And it has a small screen. And I had notifica­tions turned on… And call me vain, but I did not want to turn if off.

I had hard time seeing the pictures on the screen because my computer went “beep, beep, beep.…” and every two seconds there was a message from a friend (or a new friend) congra­tu­lating. It was so funny, people around me in the press room must have thought “turn that damn computer volume off and what on earth are you smiling about”…

Anyway, I guess that was the 15 minutes of fame we always talk about… But tell you this: I enjoyed every second of it.


Those of you who read Finnish I would like to refer to a column I wrote for Journa­listi, published today. When it comes to media and our future in it as photo­graphers and media profes­sionals, I strongly believe that we are on a brink of something totally different. Not neces­sarily an abyss, but something which we have to prepare for and take an active role in. And to do it now.

Please forgive me (or maybe you just say “Thank God…” :-) ) I will not pursue this theme further today. I will in the future, trust me. Today I will just enjoy… well: life.

And today it feels good. Really good.



Kirjoitin yllä englan­niksi, kuten yleensä tässä blogissa olen tehnyt. Kieli­va­linta on kysymys, jota en ole pystynyt ratkai­semaan ja siihen tuskin on kaikkia tyydyt­tävää ratkaisua.

Toisaalta olisi hyvä kirjoitaa suomeksi — lukija­kunta olisi varmasti laajempi ja tyyty­väinen. Mutta: puhues­samme esim. tekijä­noi­keuk­sista tai monista alaamme liitty­vistä asioista ja epäkoh­dista on selvä etu, että puhun myös maamme rajojen ulkopuo­li­sille lukijoille. Tiedän, että jotkut tämän blogin jutut ovat erittäin luettuja myös muilla kielia­lueilla ja että joihinkin juttuihini viitataan myös aika paljon. Hemmetti, onhan jopa LA Times pyytänyt blogin kommen­teissa anteeksi idiot­ti­maista käytöstään. :-)

Konkreet­tinen osoitus tuli myös viime Vuoden Lehti­kuvat palkin­to­gaa­lassa, kun ruotsa­laiset kollegat tulivat terveh­timään ja sanoivat: “Kiitos, sinun blogisi on se lähde, josta tiedämme mitä Suomessa tapahtuu…” Vaikkei tietysti pidä paikkaansa ehkä näin, mutta minun on pakko ottaa myös tällaiset näkökannat huomioon.

Olen ajatellut, että kirjoitan jatkossa ristiin, kieltä vaihdellen, niinkuin oikealta tuntuu. Puhtaasti tekniset, pohdis­ke­levat jutus­telut toisella kotimai­sella, mutta asiat joissa selkeästi viittaan meidän omaan mediaamme etc. sitten tällä äidinkieliosastolla.

Toivot­ta­vasti lukijani ymmär­tävät tämän — ja kommen­tointi on aina terve­tullutt luonnol­li­sesti aivan millä kielellä itsestä hyvältä tuntuu.

3 Replies to “Finnfoto Award”

  1. Language things first:
    Perso­nally I’d prefer english for the same reasons you listed but of course this is your blog so you can write in chinese if you want to. However, as a reader I’d prefer to have some kind of consis­tency and now I’m already confused as to which language I should choose to reply to this post. ;)

    Regarding the feedback:

    I was already a little surprised about yesterdays statement regarding the lack of feedback, because my personal experiences are quite different:
    Usually when I get on an assignment most people are first a little intimi­dated by the big camera etc.. 

    However, once they have seen the resulting image, I have so far received positive feedback every single time.
    Of course we all know those clients who in their unknowingness give all credit to the camera:
    “Wow, you have a great camera.” “Your camera takes great pictures!” etc, etc.
    But once I give them the camera to take a photo themselves, the point is made and they correct their statement.

    Last week though I had one experience, which totally stunned me personally:
    The feedback I normally get is from clients, not other profes­sionals, which is great because in the end it’s the audience that matters.
    But when I documented the Wildlife Vaasa festival last week and also received incre­dible feedback from the inter­na­tional delegates (profes­sional filmmakers from around the world) not only on my images, but also on my work ethic¹, I was completely blown away. Because even though it’s the audience that matters in the long run, we profes­sionals tend to have a completely different view on things and can relate much better to each other.
    To me it felt so crazy to have all these people, who have their work displayed in a totally different league than I have, admire my work in the way they did.
    Maybe it’s because I rarely work in news, that the concept you told me earlier about (the photo­grapher just having to provide the pictures, by fulfilling a technical task) is somewhat uncommon to me.
    In the future you’ll hopefully receive more of that positive feedback too.

    I wish you and your family all the best for your future, and may the feedback be with you! ;) 

    ¹I worked 18h/day on average for a week (including saturday and sunday).

  2. Congrats on the award, well deserved!

    Uusi ammatti?” ‑kolumni oli mielen­kiin­toinen. Hienoa, että edes jossain ja jollain tavalla näkyy valoa. Sanoma ja Hesari sen sijaan edelleen näyttää ottavan entistä selkeämmän linjan: Lisää lukijoiden kuvia kaikilla oikeuk­silla. Ja niitähän piisaa, kaatu­neista rekoista ja lumisa­teesta. Jos freelancerit eivät suostu hölmöiksi orjiksi, laitetaan lukijat töihin. Omat vakka­rithan on potkittu pellolle (paljonko muuten lehdissä enää on omia, vakituisia kuvaajia?). Ja tästä “laatu­jour­na­lis­mista” joutuu nyt Hesarissa maksamaan netis­säkin. Upeaa, “maksu­tal­koisiin” nyt kaikki, jolla Hesarin mukaan taataan jatkos­sakin korkea­ta­soinen sisältö. Miten näen tässä jotain ristiriitaa…

    Jatka upeaa työtäsi, niin kirjoit­ta­malla kuin kuvaamalla.

  3. Hei, I am in India so didn’t see about your award — that’s great and well deserved. I also read your blog in Finnish which was touching.

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