Thursday, November 1, 2012

And strives to wake the heart in turn

Today I got a big bunch of flowers from the people at the Ministry. The beautiful bouquet was almost one meter in length, and I had the problem of how to transport it home, as I was commuting by bicycle.

Well, I solved the problem by opening the package, and with a sharp knife carefully cutting the longest flower stems in half. Then I closed the package, and put it into my bicycle bag. My Ortlieb Back Roller City was big enough to hold the bouquet when I didn't close the bag. I used adhesive tape to keep the bouquet in place inside the bag.

I was a bit worried whether the flowers would suffer during the 16 km ride home, but there was no problem, and I didn't even slow down but managed to get home in under 50 minutes. Even the temperature, +3 °C, was perfect for the flowers. At home my youngest daughter asked: "Are they real?" Yes they are, quite impressive indeed!

And why was I given flowers? Well, it is a tradition when you get appointed to office by the government, as happened to me today.

To celebrate, I fetched with my daughter some ice cream from the shop nearby, and took some photographs of course.

(Posting title is from the poem Meditations by Margaret Fuller.)


Cedric Canard said...

Congratulations Juha. I hope it's everything you hope for. Nice tradition too by the way. We have no such tradition though my family does use ice-cream to celebrate good news :)

Rosanna said...

Congratulations Juha. I think I'll adopt that tradition at my office. I've been following your photo journey from the sidelines for quite some time. I find your blog a lovely way to relax at the end of my day.

Juha Haataja said...

Thanks, Cedric. Well, I have been doing this job since January this year, and I like it, and the colleagues are great. After working for over 20 years in the same company it was time to look at something else. Previously I was in charge of delivering ICT services, now I'm the customer...

Juha Haataja said...

Thanks, Rosanna.

I guess the flower tradition at the Ministry is due to the fact that the process of permanent appointment of public servants is rather strict, so these occasions are rather rare, especially as this appointment had to go all the way up to the Finnish government plenary session.

The government is tightening up the budget all the time so there are fewer and fewer people (and more and more work for us). But still, I like the work, and the people at the Ministry are fantastic.

It is good to know that these photographs are doing some good such as helping you to relax.

However, here in Finland there as been heated debate about amateur photographers "destroying" the livelihood of pro photographers, especially those amateurs who (like me) put their photographs on the web using cc-type licenses.

After thinking about this for a while, I feel that I'm not really a photographer in that sense at all. I take photographs because I'm curious about the world, and want to learn about it (and myself), and the camera is a tool for this. And when I put the photographs on the web I'm hoping that someone somewhere benefits from my discoveries, however small they may be.

Thus, taking photographs and posting them on the net is for me an act of using the freedom of speech. This has nothing to do with the profession of photographers, or the monetary value of photographs.

Markus Spring said...

Juha, congratulations to your appointment from my side, too! The gesture with the flowers is a nice welcome, here in the administration I haven't heard of something similar, unfortunately.

Re. the effect of amateur photography: Life as a professional has certainly become more difficult, and one reason for it is the overflow of available images, but in my eyes even more decisive is the fact, that appreciation for really good photography is on a sharp decline - and with it the available budgets.
What we do - creating and publishing images of no visible monetarian value, is almost exclusively driven by artistic needs (I like the Vonnegut quote in your following post), and I don't think it has a negative business effect. Going out and photographing a wedding for small change only certainly is much more a threat than images of twigs or suburb facades.

Juha Haataja said...

Thanks, Markus. Sometimes I wonder at the idea that one should be able to be earn a living by making art; wouldn't it be rather so that you live a life using art as a way of understanding and discovery.

Why put monetary value on art at all? I'm all too simple...

You are right about the decline on good photography. I don't much read newspapers but when I do I have noticed a drastic change.

On the other hand, I think there are more and more people engaging in photography for the sake of photography, not because of earning money, and the results provide unique glimpses to the world, as you have demonstrated again and again. There is a change, but it is not all bad.

Eric Jeschke said...

Congratulations, Juha!

I really enjoyed your comments on photography. I felt today, when I was reading your blog, that this is a diary of daily life, and a zen meditation on that life.

I certainly enjoy reading it--it's very peaceful and zen.

Juha Haataja said...

Thanks, Eric!

Well, zen is another matter, but living a life, that is something to contemplate. Recently I haven't slept all that well, and I'm feeling rather restless at the same time as I feel slow, an interesting mixture.