Ode to Mänttä and its art

Ode to Mänttä and its art

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As a photographer, I always enjoy fine arts, too. My visit to the small town of Mänttä in Central Finland gave me great pleasure. The origin of the town itself goes back to the year 1868, when the industrialist G. A. Serlachius founded a saw mill on the banks of the Mäntänkoski rapids. Mänttä soon became one of the leading Finnish forest industry locations with extensive exports and international markets. Today, production is focused on tissue paper products. 

Mänttä-Vilppula with less than 11,000 inhabitants has experienced a new and uplifting era with its art profile. The members of the Serlachius family were always interested in fine arts, and both G. A. Serlachius and his nephew Gösta were keen art lovers and generous patrons. The Serlachius art collection was first opened to the public in 1945 when a museum was opened at the first floor of Joenniemi manor, former private residence of Gösta Serlachius. Since 1984 the entire building has served as an art museum. There were also two other Serlachius museums opened: the fine arts museum of Honkahovi and the Gustaf museum, which concentrates on the industrial history of Mänttä. At present, Honkahovi and the historical Mänttä Club are owned by the Kauko Sorjonen Foundation.  Modern art is exhibited during the summer in an old factory building called Pekilo.

On my trip I visited the Gösta museum and Honkahovi. I also attended a concert in the beautiful church, where the Polish musician Slawomir Zubrzycki played an instrument called viola organista. It was originally planned by Leonardo da Vinci himself! 

Art Hotel Honkahovi is situated in a lovely park with large pine trees and statues, and there is a lake view through the large windows of the building. It was originally built in 1938 as the private residence of R. Erik Serlachius.  There are also a few very stylish hotel rooms at Honkahovi. Yearly there are at least three small-scale art exhibitions and ten concerts.

The Gösta museum is breath taking, to say the least. The impressive Joenniemi manor, built in 1935, shows classic fine arts with paintings and sculptures from the most famous Finnish artists of the Golden Age as well as many old European masters. There is also a park showing a large number of sculptures. This summer a quite new pavilion was opened alongside the manor, and although it represents a totally different, very modern architecture, it fits perfectly into the landscape. The new pavilion is not a small one: it is 135 meters long and comprises 5,700 square meters. It is designed by Spanish architects. Actually amazing how Spanish designers have been able to create a building which so completely fits into the sensitive Finnish landscape. In the pavilion there was an interesting exhibition of contemporary art. It was called Super Pop, and showed among others some works of Andy Warhol. I must say I was impressed, and found many interesting angles as a photographer.

I completed my trip with dinner at the Mänttä Club, which used to belong to the Serlachius company. It was built in 1920 and used for festivities and accommodating guests. Nowadays it is a restaurant and hotel. I enjoyed a splendid meal and returned home with many new photos. I can recommend Mänttä for all art enthusiasts. It is really worth a visit!

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Visit to Råmossa farm

The host of Råmossa

I'm happy to have a very good friend and former colleague, Mr. Jussi Pekkinen. We have the same background by education and working experience in the hectic financial business. A couple of years ago, Jussi decided to change his life profoundly. He left the finance business and moved to the farm, which originally was owned by his father and grandfather. 

The farm - Råmossa - is located in the small village of Ilola, close to the town of Porvoo only about 60 kilometers from Helsinki less than one our from the airport. But when I visited Råmossa for the first time, I felt that I was in Lapland or in the extreme part of Eastern Finland. It's a huge farm!

When Jussi moved to his farm, he set up his own business, and he is now an entrepreneur and the host of Råmossa. Originally, the farm was a forest estate. Now the main activities include versatile nature events for small visitor groups. Råmossa specializes in traditional Finnish outdoor activities, such as preparing organic meals over a campfire, hare hunting with harriers and ice fishing during the winter period. Råmossa has its own little lake, surrounded by a forest in its natural state.

With his partners Jussi also owns a fishing boat by the Teno river, and a cottage in Utsjoki, in the very Northern part of Lapland. He arranges high standard arctic char fishing trips to Utsjoki. Maybe in the future there will also be photography trips to these imposing sceneries. 

In early August Jussi asked me to visit the farm and take some photographs from the landscapes and facilities. It was an interesting and joyful challenge for me.  I have visited the farm several times. I love the atmosphere there, the fresh ideas and entrepreneurship of Jussi, and the wonderful nature.

 I enclose some of my photos here. More photos are found on the web site ramossa.fi.

Finally, this is a great farm and if you plan to offer something very special to your customers or friends, Råmossa is the place!

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What is it all about..

It's all about photography.

I'm writing this blog a few days after my trip to Lapland, to Kilpisjärvi in the North-West part of Finland, and a couple of weeks before my web site will be published. By background I'm a retail banker with Master's Degree in Economics and Management Sciences. After 40 years in the banking business I have retired last spring. Photography has always been my serious hobby. I got my first own camera Minolta a5 in 1963, when I was eleven. It was a good one, good enough to satisfy a young photographer's needs many, many years. It has the 36x24mm format and a wonderful Rokkor 2,8/45 lens. Since then the 36x24mm has been the natural size to me, and it's also in digital photography. A stunning point in my photographic thinking was Michelangelo Antonioni`s film Blow-up about a fashion photographer, who believes he has inadvertently captured a murder on film. It was very exciting, and I thought photography is my way to go. 

So, I don't have any formal education in photography. But after more than 50 years as a serious amateur photographer and after several free studies I see myself as an advanced semipro photographer. After my retirement I call myself a Freelance Photographer.

The purpose of this web site is to introduce some of my favorite subjects and motifes. I'm also going to write a blog on a weekly basis (sometimes more often, sometimes more seldom). In my blog I describe my trips and photography work as well. I have a lot of experience of photography gear, so I'm also going to write some field evaluations of cameras and lenses, mostly from Nikon and Olympus.

A few words of my gear today

As I said before, the FF format is natural to me. There are two major brands in the market using FF format: Canon and Nikon. After using Canon for several years (my first serious SRL was Canon Ftb) I'm nowadays a Nikon guy. That's more or less because of the functionality of Nikon DSLR:s. They are locigal, and a joy to use. The system is large enough and it's easy to change the gear, sell or buy. The market for used gear is also big enough. Saying that, every semipro level camera today is good enough to take brilliant shots.

I have a couple of Nikon bodies for different purposes. My daily work tool is D4s with Nikkor 24-70/2.8 lens. When travelling and whenever I need a lighter camera, I have the Df, which is my favorite camera and has a certain feeling of its own. With Voigtländer 40/2.0 pancake lens it´s a great combo in streets.

My lens gear covers the focal distances from 14mm to 400mm. Most of the lenses are Nikkor lenses; but I also have a couple of Zeiss and Voigtländer prime lenses from 21mm to 40mm with large apertures.

Besides  Nikon I sometimes like to use the MFT format, why I have an Olympus pen E-P5 camera with some usable lenses. As a compact camera I use Ricoh GR, which is a really good camera in street photography and has an excellent image quality too.

What is the purpose of my photography...

After 40 years of serious banking business I like to do something totally different, fulfill my photographical ideas and creativeness as much as I can. It's as simple as that. I see the limitless possibilities of pictorial impression in front of me. What an exciting world!