PEKKA LUUKKOLAPhotographs 7.3.2009 – 29.3.2009
As the sun drifts below the horizon, the blue shadow of the Earth rises slowly on the southern sky, creating the backdrop for my photographs. Serene and expansive, the twilight, the opposite of the warm hues of skin and fire, has fascinated me for years. It challenges me to capture our well-trodden and well-documented landscape anew.
By extending my exposure times, I have sought to depict the unfolding of an event, its passage and history, and capture it on film - to bring life to a landscape that is stood still. I might spend a month planning, poring over maps and searching for the right stage setting and then embark upon my preparations over a number of days in order to light and shoot the event in one long take, in one single direction. The right light at dusk lasts for only a moment and there is often only enough time for a single attempt. The visual simplicity of my images disguises a complex technical reality and the constant prospect of failure, brought about by the many variables, the forces of nature and my own nocturnal exhaustion.
I use fire to express movement, the passage of time and the presence of humans without a visible, recognisable form. One twilight shot, for example, captures the scorch marks branded on a boat by long extinguished fires. At times my attention turns to examining the idea of movement from the point of view of the object. My camera might be fixed on to a moving boat. Here, the extended exposure time and the blurred focus created by the moving vessel lends the surrounding landscape an abstract appearance. I might synchronise the camera with the turning of the earth to create a photograph that expresses the earth´s movement in relation to the stars. I have come to notice that I have imposed upon myself a set of informal rules as well as a challenge. exposure to a single sheet film, cropping set in advance, no post-processing. All my photographs are direct representations of what has taken place in front of the camera, none of the effects have been achieved through photoshopping.
All my photographs are taken in Finland. In theory, they could have been taken at any time n history. We first settled in these latitudes some 10,000 years ago and yet, in all that time, the bedrock and the landscapes have changed but little where they have not been shaped by human hand. I want the viewers to take a break from the fast pace of modern life and to reflect on the value of our shared landscapes, our roots and our heritage: our forebears, who, like us, admired the wide-open horizon, the night sky and the worlds beyond it. Just like us, they too, were drawn to water: for them, the waterways were important transport routes and represented the source of life itself. Our forefathers´ relationship with dusk and darkness was very different from ours - they had no lights, only fire. In my work, fire symbolises life, like those small flickering flames we light in remembrance of the generations past. We all have the same ancient blood coursing through our veins, and those of us who share the same land and landscapes are imbued with a shared spiritual heritage, despite the magnitude of the change our lives have undergone in a short space of time.
My work seeks to define our relationship with time and place, the universe and the passage of history. The photographs are often a blend of nature, art and science, the imaginary and the real. Approaching these images and landscapes from the viewpoint of the past and the future can lend them an entirely new set of meanings. My photographs are inteded to be viewed and experienced but many of them can also be read. I hope that while depicting the real, my photographs also convey another world and transport the viewers to a new dimension I have attempted to create.