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.







  1. Jan Vehrenkamp
    November 30, 2012

    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. Haije
    December 1, 2012

    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. Tim
    December 3, 2012

    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.


Leave a Reply