Finland has more boats per person than almost any other country. The latest estimate is 1.2 million boats. We also have 200000 lakes shared among just 5.5 million Finns. So pretty much everybody’s got a boat and a lake.
My home, too, is surrounded by lakes. In the summertime, we take our boat to these lakes. We also have a small cabin by the lake with a sauna. So we swim a lot. During wintertime, the lakes are frozen over and we ski, skate and hike on them. We ski to close by islands, set up a small fire, and enjoy a cup of coffee.
But between summer and winter, a long fall renders the lakes mostly unusable. It is too rainy and cold for boating or swimming and too early in the season for a play on the ice. But as we get close to polar night, the little light that remains makes these lakes magnificent. When tourists rave about northern lights, I chase darkness, soft light, and days that never really break.
I’ve lived years in sunny California and in crisp New England. Nothing compares to the radiant days by the Pacific or the colorful fall foliage in New Hampshire. Such beauty produces easily glorious pictures. But during the fall up here in the north, you gotta dig deeper and work a bit harder to capture these unique landscapes. November is like a rusty old Beetle that is best to leave unrestored or an old beautiful lady who is just plain gorgeous without any makeup. To cherish such beauty, you need to be true to it.
My means to enjoy November lakes are simple. I put on my raincoat, comfy shoes, select a fast film and head out. I feel that November is best captured with all the grain and blemishes from a black and white film pushed to the extreme and from old mechanic cameras that don’t apply any beautification to my pictures. Through these simple means, I truly enjoy the quiet and dark November days. They don’t shout, they whisper.
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. I have a Ph.D. in software engineering and an MSc in Education, and I’m an adjunct professor at the local university.
I started analog photography fairly recently. 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 in traditional large- and medium format films. It has been rewarding to see 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!