The Secret Life of Farmers

One of the things that takes up a great deal of my time, at the moment, is roughly two acres of land, half a farmyard, that we are slowly converting to a garden.

trees and daffodils: january on the farm, ©eveliina hujanen 2012

A lot of what we are still doing is very basic landscaping, planting trees, designing a use for different parts of the land – getting to know the place. For the last eight months now I have been collecting all sorts of odds and ends that I’ve found around the place, signs of life in a working farm. The things that I’ve found – quite a few bones of various animals, needles for injecting cows, and shards of whisky bottles – are forming quite a picture of what farming is, or has been in the past: after all, these items could be less than two years old, or possibly 150, for all I know.

It is curious trying to paint a picture of a life based on items found in a small piece of land: it’s all there to be interpreted, depending on the extend of one’s imagination. It could turn out to be fact or tall tales, and I’m thoroughly enjoying the process of contemplating the secret life of farmers.

A bottle of antibiotics, possibly. © Eveliina Hujanen 2012.

A January First

Just in case it has managed to pass anyone by, it’s that time of the year when many people turn to reflect on the past year, and perhaps consider what they could do better/differently/less in order to make the next one even better. I’ve given this a lot of thought, and reflecting back on last year, I think what I should do more is to share thoughts, and little projects that may lead to inspire greater things.

One of the things about being engaged in photography has done for me, is that I’m very reluctant to share projects that are not finished, or not intended to be nothing short of grand stands. In some ways this makes sense, sharing things that are unfinished may make you look like an amateur, or plain silly if you fail to get your ideas across. However, I’m determined to test if sharing has more benefits than disadvantages.

In this light, I may well start straight away. Here are a few pictures from a little exercise I worked on yesterday, a little picture project titled in my head either as January First or The Day After.

the fairylight way, ©eveliina hujanen 2012.

alternative breakfast, ©eveliina hujanen 2012

someone told me that dogs really fancy cats ©eveliina hujanen 2012

Kuoleman kosketus/ Encounters with death opens in Helsinki!

Into the Wild ©Eveliina Hujanen 2010

From this Friday you will have the opportunity to go and see our group exhibition Kuoleman kosketus/ Encounters with death in Helsinki, when it opens in Jukka Male Museo on 9th September at 6 pm. It will stay open until 11.12 so don’t miss the opportunity to go and see some great works! The exhibiting artists this time around are: Elisabet Cavén, myself, Olli Karttunen, Karina-Sirkku Kurz, Taru Leinonen, Kimmo Metsäranta, Katja Maria Nyman, Satu Pirinen, Mikko Rikala, Maija Savolainen and Leena Ylä-Lyly.  Oh yes, and many thanks to all those who have been supporting us, including Finnfoto, Aalto university, Finnish Cultural Foundation and Arts Council of Helsinki Metropolitan region.

Eight ‘must do’ projects whilst in Ireland

When I was in uni in Wales, and working on my first project in Ireland, my lecturers told me that I had inadvertently stumbled upon the very traditional, stereotypical way of picturing Ireland. At the time I didn’t really have any perceived visual ideas of Ireland, but have since then developed a fairly good idea of what more or less anyone, coming to Ireland to photograph, will do. The reason why these topics are so alluring is that they are everywhere, quite evident and most also very visually appealing. Browsing through the archives it seems that I still have a few more topics to go before I have to start to think about a bit more original topics (or the same ones with a twist anyway…) Here’s my top 8:

1. Abandoned houses.
There are plenty of them, just pick a decade/century for abandonment to narrow down the options and go for it.

Here's an interior of one abandoned house in Co. Cork

2. Music.
One of the best things about Ireland, there must be at least one project done around music.

3. Religion.
What is Ireland, if not catholic?

4. Weather.
It rains. A lot. Even so, the weather does throw a few curveballs every now and again, ensuring continued interest on the topic.

The Burren, with rain on lens

The day Cork froze over in 2009

5. The recession.
A new entry to the list, but one that definitely deserves a place on it. The thing about the recession is that here it has left very many visible marks – empty shops, long dole queues etc. Global problems are visible here.

6. Irish Travelers.
One of the only indigenous groups in Europe, the Irish Traveler lifestyle and community attracts many a photographer.

7. The Sea.
Being an island nation, the watery element naturally has a certain appeal.

8. St Patrick’s Day.
It certainly is an experience.

St Patrick's Day on St Patrick's St in Cork in 2009.

I’m sure there are more candidates for this list than this. What are your suggestions?

Nevermind the rain: Cork in June is great!

Four exhibitions in three days. Where am I? London? No. Venice? No. I’m back in Cork, and it’s been a fantastic time to return: in the first week here I have been to three exhibition openings and one artist talk, many thanks to 2020 gallery for Outside the Box exhibition, Camden Palace for the St. Johns’s Graduate Photography show, Sirius Arts Centre for most interesting artist talk by Mirjam Siefert and Triskel Arts Centre for the opening in the Black Mariah space. This run of shows in slightly unusual in the sense that I have always associated Cork more with theatre, sculpture, music and crafts rather than visual arts, and so it feels great to be seeing so many visual pieces, and plenty of varied work that these spaces are currently offering.

Sirius Arts Centre displaying the works of Mirjam Siefert in the show 'Heaven is Under Construction'

Of these a new big favourite is Sirius Arts Centre: it’s such a shame that I haven’t been there before! I thought the space was stunning and I really enjoyed the intense photographs on show by the German artist, who also gave a good insight into her work during the talk. And of course, Cork Midsummer Festival is on, and this year I’ll be volunteering a few hours for the festival. It’s a great start to the summer season in Ireland!

Title this picture!

So, the printing course has now progressed to the stage where we are printing some of the images. We are producing to a joint portfolio so that each person on the course receives some truly great pieces of work from each other (great idea, eh)! My problem is that the picture I have chosen to be included in this has not got a title, and I figured that perhaps the crowd in this instance could give me some ideas: what should be the title for the picture below? Ideas? Suggestions? What should this picture be called?

Fun with Camera Raw converter

Earlier on the year I blogged about a Photoshop course I attended, which was very heavy in post-processing. This week, and next, I’ll be learning about a different method on a Fine Art printing course, where the aim is to do very little anything to the image that would be destructive, with the aim in mind to produce some really high quality fine art prints. We will be testing out different papers as well as how different settings react to particular papers. Anyway, just wanted to share one picture from yesterday’s workshop!

salt marshes in south of Brittany from the journey earlier on this year