In your face with a hand-held flash
With this photograph by Markus Jokela (born 1952), showing a family kitchen in Kirkkonummi, near Helsinki, from the early 1990s, we want to encourage all our readers to loosen up and enjoy everyday highlights.
What if you just let all the junk show and capture your everyday rituals. These can be, for example, having an evening snack after taking a sauna on a Saturday (as in this picture, perhaps), beating carpets, changing bedlinen, unpacking shopping bags, loading or unloading the dishwasher, taking pictures of your cooking or watching your favourite television series in the living room.
You can achieve the style of Markus Jokela and other colour documentarists who started their careers in the 1980s, by using a flash and forgetting the use of available light. You can make natural use of surprising perspectives and new angles when you let the little ones in the family have a go at taking photographs. What will your Christmas snap be like if it is taken from under the Christmas dinner table, or how different does your home look like when photographed through the letter box?
Since 1981, Jokela has worked for the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat as a photographer, and together with the journalist Ilkka Malmberg, he has created features for the newspaper’s monthly supplement on the theme of middle-class everyday life in Finland: about the new ways in which Finns spend their holidays; what Saturdays are like in a family; pizza as the new national food in Finland; or service stations that service people but not cars, as the authors, Jokela and Malmberg, describe their topics.
In the summer of 2008, when the Finnish Museum of Photography hosted the exhibition Something Happened by Markus Jokela, he summarised his ideas about photography as follows: “To me, photo reportage is the highest form of journalism. In photo reportage, the images do not have to scream a simplified truth. Images in reportage can whisper and ask. You can return to them. The events captured by the camera have happened. The photographer has not made them up. However, a reportage photographer needs to capture these things as they personally see them. Reportage is personal. Photo reportage is a poor medium for conveying complicated facts about the world, but it can produce experiences that stay with you.”
Erja Salo, head of education and public programmes
Merja Salo: Jotain on tapahtunut...mutta mitä? Teoksessa Markus Jokela, Jotain on tapahtunut. Musta Taide 4/2009.