Siiri Kumari


Iiris wrote to me earlier in February ‘15 and we did a shoot in the studio, and although it was fun, it wasn’t quite it, and so we set up a new date in the summertime to see what we could create with nature around us. Maret did the makeup in her tiny wooden kitchen while we were all listening to her new song, Iridescent Love, which was still unreleased back then, and at that very moment I knew exactly what kind of photos I wanted to shoot.

I wanted the shoot to be fun and colourful, and as we were thinking of possible props, she brought out two prism necklaces that performed absolutely magical when placed in front of the lens, adding a spectacular glow to the pictures. It’s amazing how much a tiny piece of glass can change the overall image…

Muse Iiris Vesik

MUAH Maret Ubaleht

New start

Starting a new blog certainly wasn’t an easy decision especially since I’d had the previous one since mid-2006, and boy how many memories and stories were there for the public to read. At some point I realized it was too much in the wide open but closing it down felt like killing something that I had nourished for nearly ten years, so I started to neglect the blog and my posts became irregular and rare occasions. The old ‘cinders and rain’ had been functioning as a photography blog since I first started shooting back in 2010 and my writings were simply replaced by images in the end, and this is not what blogs are made for.

However. This is a new one. A brand new, brisk white environment. Blank pages, new design, fresh ideas, more text, less pictures. I will write with an open heart. This is what it was made for. A new start.

July 2015 marked five years of photography. Exactly on July 19th in 2011 I bought my very first DSLR, after having previously shot on film with a Zenit-B & Helios 44-2 for a year. The old 35mm camera had been a great teacher and I have learned everything I know through trial and error.

A lot can happen in five years. From thinking I could never work as a freelance artist to actually becoming one; stepping out of my comfort zone and doing things that scare me the most just to pursue this dream of creating something for a living. It has been the most beautiful thing that has ever happened. When my last job contract was suddenly ended last summer, I decided that this was it, the sign to finally set up my own business and to start doing only the things I love.

It somehow just worked out back then. My mother was definitely not happy. But sometimes all you need is one kind soul or two, and I happen to have the most wonderful network of friends who were very supportive of this decision. There is no professional education behind my career, no photography courses, no workshops other than the ones I’ve taught on my own (and helping others learn is another creative method of teaching yourself). 

Earlier in 2015 I overcame another great fear and stood in front of the camera. I was astonished by how much it teaches you about shooting your own subjects - how to overcome the anxiety and awkwardness and how to trust the photographer with your face and body. We did three shoots with Sirabella and I believe that these few hours in front of the lens changed me a lot, not just as an artist but my whole being as well. I learned to love myself the way I was. I learned to make peace with my thighs, my scars, my lips, all my imperfections. 

A love that had lasted for 2,5 years ended this January and for someone who has spent nearly a decade in long-term relationships, it was a leap of faith out of a very deep comfort zone. It is strange to think of how confusing the first months were, I was lost in the dating jungle for a while until I learned to be content with myself. Self-love was perhaps the hardest lesson on this journey, discovering the embarrassing and dark corners of myself and learning to love them as much as I adore the sunny and joyful parts. There is nothing more freeing and empowering than learning to like your own company.

I picked up a lot of hobbies that I’d never tried before. Yoga, vegan cooking, filmmaking, violin classes, just to name a few. Things that I’ve always been interested in but never really tried properly. And, to my surprise, photography went along with it. The more I fed my body and mind, the easier it was to create something, as if I had reached a strange harmony between all things ethereal and material.

I had promised myself on the first hours of 2015 that I will travel more, no matter what it takes, and so far I have been somewhere almost every month. I booked my first international jobs. I vacationed in Tokyo. We planned countless roadtrips with my friends, and every single one of them was absolutely delightful. We discovered parts of our country that we had never been aware of. Abandoned towns, deserted beaches, windy cliffs and magical forests gleaming in gold.

Life on the road is different. It changes you a lot. You will come back a different person than who you were when you first stepped out of your home. There is your best friend sitting next to you on the driver’s seat, their hand on the steering wheel, looking at you with eyes full of wanderlust, asking, “Where will we go next?” And you drive for hours through endless sunsets and rain, listening to stupid songs and dreaming of new destinations. 

And finally, to finish off this blog post, I am going to just leave this quote here:

Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. 

And you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.
And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.
 - Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

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