Me and my nature – e-Meeting in Finland in December 2020


How to explore relation to the nature through camera? How can you see the details? How to capture yourself with a camera into the nature?

We had a workshop about the photographing the surrounding environment. At first there was a little chat about the environment and how to capture it a little bit different way. Then we had two tasks to do and sharing the results in small groups. Each small group will pick some photos and show them to whole group. And after that we had some homework to do.

At first, we thought what kind of environment is marketed to us. How beautiful, obvious, and flawless it always is. After little chatting, we checked our own camera to see what kind of photos we have taken. Do we have taken a lot of photos? Is there some animals or humans in those photos or do we capture just the general view? Is there something that repeats itself?

Before to given tasks to the participants we discussed from where the following ideas came. Behind this task is Finnish visual art teacher Pasi Kirkkopelto. We had his permission to use this great task. Margriet Zwarthoed and the serie “Not more than 100 steps from my front door” is from an online group of visual arts teachers where teachers can share assignment ideas.

Vivian Maier and “Self-portrait and its double” is based on the exhibition of the Museum of Photography and its task to art teachers.


Margriet Zwarthoed

”Not more than 100 steps from my front door”

Dutch photographer Margriet Zwarthoed examines the environment with a camera. She searches and finds interesting, strange, and beautiful little things and takes beautiful photos of those details. There is different kind of objects, colors, patterns and materials exist. What if when we looked at the photos and we didn’t know what someone had photographed? The idea is to explore the details of immediate surroundings and the environment through photography.

All those photos are surprising, visual awareness, there is more details, and we can find more abstract environment. What are the details you pay attention to or is there any?

And what we did? We took a phone or camera and went out. We chose a direction and walked 100 steps forward. We stopped and looked around. We found some interesting details, take a photo of it (objects, colors, patterns, materials). Then we kept walking and chose a new direction and walked again 100 steps forward. We stopped and looked around. We found some interesting details and took a photo of it and keep going. We chose a new direction and walked 100 steps forward for the third time. And again, we stopped and looked around. We tried to find another thing of interest again and took a photo of it.

Such a beautiful photos we took!!



Vivian Maier

Another task was to think what if we were part of our photos – reflection of environment nearby.

This task is based on the self-portraits of Vivian Maier. In her photos is a though that maybe there is another, more interesting way to see and catch to environment. There is experience of being present, how the environment is relevant to itself and plays a major role. In all those photos, there is lights and shadows or reflections.

This American street photographer was born in New York City - spent most of her youth in France and was taking photos during over five decades. She was always looking at the environment from a different perspective, documenting the world around her in self-portraits: she described herself through her surroundings, like reflections and shadows.

After researching Vivian’s photos and understanding the message of her photos - we tried it ourselves. We needed to look at the surroundings, see the details and find ourselves in the part of the environment. Then we took a photo the way that we are part of the picture - as a reflection or shadow. As Vivian had photographed street views that were relevant to her, we and students were looking for places that were relevant to themselves. This task was succeeded!