I own a small mahogany boat from the early -60s. I’ve kept the boat as simple as possible without electrical aids or modern conveniences. It is powered by an old two-stroke outboard engine with a rope starter and the steering uses an old-fashioned cable loop. The mahogany hull is no longer perfect but shows its age. But, like people, wooden boats age beautifully.
Summers up north are short; just a few months. But the days are long as the sun never really sets. I take my boat out on a lake as often as I can, and its wooden organic shape fits perfectly into the calms and winds of northern lakes. No two trips alike, and I always take a camera with me. It feels like a lost opportunity to see the sun set, a wave break, or a cloud drift if I cannot capture it on film. For me, my boat is a time machine, a travel agency, and a photographic studio all in one.
Mahogany is a beautiful material to build boats. It creates a unique contrast with water and reflects light like no other wood. However, tropical wood it is not perfect for northern climate. If frozen when wet, mahogany disintegrates and turns into powder. I therefore need to take my boat out of the water months before the winter comes, so it has enough time to dry up before sub-zero temperatures. While summers up in the north are already very short, mahogany makes them even shorter! And even more worthy of pictures.
About Ari Jaaksi
My name is Ari Jaaksi, and I come from Finland. I’ve already done many things in my life. I’ve lived in many parts of the US and in Europe, have 2 children, I’ve been married for the same lady for 30 years, I’ve been a part of the executives in companies such as Intel, Hewlett Packard, and Nokia, created digital products that have sold in millions, have a PhD in software engineering and an MSc in Education, and I’m a part time musician who has released a lot of original music, and I’m an adjunct professors at the local university. Life is short, so live it—is my motto.
I started photography 2 years ago. I fell in love with old cameras and black and white film. I feel I can express myself with that media and capture moments filtered through my life experience on traditional large- and medium format films. It has been rewarding to see some recognition of my work through awards and exhibitions. But I also feel I’ve barely touched the surface of photographic expression. To me, analog photography provides a means but also the limitations; both so necessary for any art!