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February 17, 2012

Sara Nase: 'Think of Finland' by Martin Parr

It’s guest post o’clock on Nokia Connects! Last week we contacted Sara Nase from getpalmd and asked her if she fancied heading down the road in her native Finland to check out a rather exciting exhibition by photographer Martin Parr. She kindly agreed, took photos on her new Nokia Lumia 800 and wrote this guest post for us about her experience….over to Sara.

On the 4/2/2012 an exhibition opened in Helsinki, called ”Think of Finland” by the renowned British photographer Martin Parr. I got the chance to visit Laboratory on their opening night, thanks to Nokia Connects, so I wanted to share with you my thoughts about it.

I feel that in many ways Martin Parr managed to capture the true spirit of the Finnish culture – and summer. On the other hand the exhibition is very stereotypical and if you have grown up in a different area of Finland, you almost feel like a tourist looking at some of the photos. That should however be a good thing, if you as a Finn can see your home country from a different perspective. He chose not to capture that much of the modern Finland, but focused more on old traditions that live on from decade to decade. But as he said in his opening speech, ”my starting point in this was clichés”. It is not a very commercial exhibition in terms of selling Finland as an extraordinary country to visit – you perhaps do not look at the photos and think ”wow, I want to go there”. Instead it shows us the real life of locals, and that is a good contrast to all the other photos of Finland out there!

But 607 km is not enough to see all the best things Finland has to offer. Landscapes change, people change. Go to our beautiful archipelago and you can capture a fisher in his rowing boat at dawn, with a sheet of morning fog over the sea. Go to our design districts in Helsinki and you will find fashionable Finns and innovative local design. Go to our business headquarters or universities and you will see people creating success stories like Nokia, Rovio and Finnair as a few examples. Visit Lapland and you will find incredible untouched nature and people who hold on tightly to their old traditions. Although we are constantly developing as a country, some things will luckily never change or disappear.

But unfortunately, most tourists coming here for short trips will never experience the atmosphere we can see in Martin Parr’s photos. If I had to pick out a few subjects from his photos to highly recommend to anyone planning a visit to Finland, these would be my choices:

  • Summertime. A wood stove sauna and a view over the sea or a lake from the terrace. And a cold drink. I think that is the best summer tradition and I wish all tourists would get the opportunity to enjoy a Finnish summer night like this! The nature here is unique so it should be enjoyed.
  • Crayfish parties. It is the atmosphere that we love – a long table filled with summery food delicacies and family and friends gathered. You will most likely wake up with hundreds of mosquito bites, one of the downsides of our beautiful summers – but trust me, it is worth it.
  • Local food. Chanterelle, European plerch and smoked flounder, carelian stew, carelian pastries, rye bread, fried reindeer stew, game (common pheasant, deer, doe…), salmon soup, herring, smoked ham, new potatoes with butter… some highlights from the Finnish kitchen.

I wish there would exist a website connecting local people with visitors, because that is the best way to experience a new country – with a local. If you ever get an invitation to someone’s summer cottage in Finland, no is not a wise answer, because you do not want to miss out on that!

The Martin Parr exhibition is taking place until 8/4/12, head here for more details. Thanks for your personal perspective Sara, let us know your thoughts about her perspective and Martin’s photography @Nokia_Connects.