Amos Oz- the master of words

Last December, on a work trip in Israel, I had the chance to meet an author whose books I have been reading basically half of my life. The meeting was one of the highlights of my career. It was interesting especially as I myself am just writing my first book and know how hard it is even if the subject of the book is something you have a passion for. Writing an article for a magazine can be sometimes difficult, especially if I don’t relate to the subject. But still you can always pull together something and find an interesting angle… and get rid of it in a day or two.

But writing a book is a really hard and extensive work. This is how Amos Oz explained it: You take a word with a pincers, examine it in the light, put it in a sentence. You take another word, examine it too, throw it away. You take the third one, put it in a sentence, remove the first one… Amos Oz said that an author writing a 70 000 word long book needs to take over 250 000 decisions like that. More than any government takes in three years. And that’s the difference of a good writer and a bad writer. The words.

You can see the results of this meeting in Askel 30 year special edition published in February 2013.

Amos Oz

Amos Oz

Amos Oz at his home in Tel Avi

Wedding parade in Agra

Wedding parade in Agra
On the first evening of our trip to India, my wife and I left the hotel grounds to take a stroll along the nearby streets. We had heard that the wedding season is on and the chance of running into a street celebration is good.
We picked up a riksha, or rather we were picked up by a super friendly driver who kept his word and showed us around. And he sure knew where we would find what we were looking for. Thank you Nashir Khan, I will certainly contact you again when back in Agra.
This wedding procession shows the high riding groom as he was escorted by his family and friends to meet his bride. Soon enough we were pulled into the dancing crowd.
I can only imagine the following parts of this 4 day celebration.

wedding in agra

India 1.2014

Privat tour with Merja Varon

Privat tour with Merja Varon



Privat tour with Merja Varon

Privat tour with Merja Varon

Privat tour with Merja Varon

Privat tour with Merja Varon

Privat tour with Merja Varon

Tel Aviv: White City

Tel Aviv  – The White City exhibition (English below)


Walking on Tel Aviv..



Tel Aviv is one of the Unesco World heritage sites because of its Bauhaus-architecture.




Ron Huldai, the mayor of Tel Aviv is a relaxed guy.
Talot on pyritty entisöimään alkuperäisen mallin mukaan.
The houses are conserved according to their original model.

“This exhibition was just an excuse for me to travel to Helsinki”, laughed Ron Huldai, the mayor of Tel Aviv at the opening of the Tel Aviv  White City exhibition at the Museum of Finnish Architecture in Helsinki.
He has been leading the biggest city of Israel already for 15 years. During that time 120 kilometers of bicycle lanes have been built in the city. Not bad for a place where cycling was an unknown thing still two decades ago. 
It is funny that a country boy from Kibbutz Hulda is now the boss in this big city which has become a hot travel destination in the recent years. If you can’t make it all the way to Tel Aviv, pay a visit to this nice exhibition. 
The Museum of Finnish Architecture, Kasarmikatu 24, Helsinki
Open Tue-Sun 11 am-6 pm, Wed 11 am-8 pm



Tea time in India

Being a photographer and a hopeless individualist I found it hard to travel with a tight programme that I could not control. The fact that I was traveling with a big group of people did not help either.
So in order to get closer to the India that most of the time I saw only through the bus window, I tried to take off and use every free moment that I had. Like early morning walks along the down town streets, or when our bus stopped for a short midway break I found myself on the other side of the motorway joining groups of early morning tea seekers. Tea “shops” are probably the first to open in the morning everywhere you go in India. I usually buy myself a cup of strong sweet and fatty Chai and almost immediately join the group. The lack of a common language was not a problem.  After a warm up of small talk and some object shoots, I often could start portraying the people. Many times these short sessions ended with them asking me to pose for a picture, too.
These small, always spontaneous meetings were the jewel of my latest trip to India.
And as for this lovely Indian Chai, here is how you make it:  
-Black tea
-Fat milk
1. Crush the whole cardamom seeds and chop the ginger.
2. Boil them in water for a few minutes, add the sugar and boil for a few extra minutes.
3. Add the tea and boil for a couple of minutes.
4. Add the milk and cook for 2 minutes.
5. Strain and serve hot.
I did not put any precise quantities as I do not believe that the road side Tea Shops have such. Just try and taste and find your own balance of aromas.