Welcome to Studio Metsä’s new portrait series – I Challenge.
For this series, I have met with girls who showed interest in being part of a photography experience that went a little deeper than the surface. Each meeting has been so genuine, open and up-lifting that I have left the coffee shop inspired, happy and excited. The questions I have asked the girls have penetrated the surface straight into the heart and have led to amazing conversations and connections.
These people have opened up to me about their pasts, experiences, fears, insecurities, hopes and dreams – you name it. I have felt incredibly honoured to be someone they can open up to. But through all of it, there was one common thread I was looking for – a source of discomfort.
We all have things we would rather not do, situations we would rather not be in. What’s interesting is why those specific things are so uncomfortable to us and what happens when we challenge ourselves and put ourselves into those situations regardless?
Today I would like you to meet, Hanna (Part I).
Hanna is a happy girl – at least this is my view on her based on the two times I have met her.
She is really out-going and friendly and always on the go. At work, she has a leadership position and loves what she does.
You can see there is a confidence and an ease she carries herself with.
But, and we all have a but,
she doesn’t like to be alone.
She especially dislikes being in silence with nothing to do.
She told me how one time she was in the sauna with her roommates and had asked them “Why do people go to the sauna? What do they do there?” – and lest you forget; she is from Finland and sauna is pretty much in our blood ;) – but for her, there is no point just sitting there, doing nothing and not even being able to have your cell-phone nearby to entertain you.
The Challenge for Hanna: Alone, in silence, doing nothing.
I invited her to Lauttasaari (a neighbourhood in Helsinki, Finland, known for its nature, peace and quiet) and asked her to not wear any make-up so that she will feel more open, raw and vulnerable.
I took her to a beautiful spot right by the ocean. It was quiet, we barely saw people and the only things making noise were the waves and the birds.
And I made her sit. And be still. And silent.
At one point she remarked “It really is so quiet here!”.
If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.
With this last photograph I was thinking about the idea of her always being in her head, even if physically she might be somewhere else.
In the end, as much as she had enjoyed being photographed, she had also been frightened to be in silence. And then she told me why – she is nervous about how slowing down, or coming to a full stop, would affect her and her ambitious attitude.
I hope that through this experience, she might want to put herself more into situations like this and explore those feelings that arise.
That’s it for now. This was a great first photo shoot for the series, I’m excited!
Until next time lovelies,