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The Forest of the Past: A Tribute to Lumberjacks

4/11/2018 ISO 1200 Magazine 0 Comments

Today we have the pleasure to feature photographer  Sanna Vornanen with her latest project 'The Forest of the Past'. We hope you enjoy her behind the scene look into lights, forests and Lumberjacks.

I haven´t even had published the Land of the Past series (only in Finnish) when I knew I wanted to keep on with antiquated theme. As I told in that blog post, history has a special space in my thoughts.

I value past generations; they have made so much in order that next generations will have a better life.

Agriculture along with forestry have had immense signification for us and for society. Mechanical development boosted usage of forests and same time research helped forests to grow. “Forests shall not be demolished”, stated the Finnish forest legislation in 1967.

On the left my great-grandfather Aleksi, great-uncle Erkki and my grandfather Eemil logging site between Winter War and Continuation War

There have always been lumberjacks in my family.

I´m thanking my dad and his father for my earliest memories of forests. Trips in forests nearby, deep red rucksack stuffed with matches, sausage and mustard. Building huts and wandering around in woods with my cousin. My childhood scene consists of glade hills surrounded by sturdy spruces. The scene of my soul is xeric heath pine forests. You know – the smell of needles, cones and gravel in the warmth of summer day.

“I want to make photos looking just like I imagine I would see things back then.”

I´m living from forests. There is no option not to have forests in my life. It´s my job, my time out, space of relaxation and quietness. I see forests from every window of my home, and I´m loving it. The affection of woods has flown in our family´s veins for decades.

Why I do these old-themed photoshoots?

I´m fascinated by the idea of past. Frequently I get caught by myself thinking how would I have seen things back then. How would I have photographed these and what would have been my types of expression. Of course, back then there would have been just black and white films. I don´t want to imitate those photos, I want to make photos looking just like I imagine I would see things back then.

Deal with connections

I knew Lumberjack-series, as a work name, would be set in past tense like the farmer-series. Still I wasn´t sure what was the exact decade to deal with. Solution was right under my eyes! Two years ago, I visited nearby Market of Old times organized by Country-side Museum of Jokela. I decides to ask, if I could borrow one thing from their collections.

Owner of the museum, Jani Jokela, held introductions to their collections one cold evening of January 2018. It was the most inspiring tour ever! I think I´m going to set up photoshoot there some day… After one-hour tour I found what I was looking or: chainsaw Jonsered Elraket XD model of year 1958. Perfect!

Next thing to look up was the surroundings for the photoshoot. As we were dealing with lumberjack the scenery should contain forest and timber. Elimäki, the little village I´m living, has very strong culture of logging carried out by forest owners so finding suitable surroundings wasn´t so hard. I had also clear vision what kind of woods I was looking for: big old pines with smaller spruces under. The perfect spot was located in forest owned by Hannu Kukkurainen.

My trusted model was the farmer-Markus. In fact, he was lumberjacking in his own forest week before the photoshoot. I couldn´t had any more authentic model has him!

I´m inspired by people and things surrounding me. Without connections also, this photoshoot would have been much more difficult to arrange. I´m in indebtedness to all those great people who are helping me to express my thoughts and feelings via photography.

Well planned is in fact 70% done

I admit; I´m lousy drawer! Stick figures are the only I manage to draw recognizably. Fortunately, it was enough in this project! I had an idea crystal-clear in my mind and I wanted to make sure those ideas would be recorded much easier than farmer-photoshoot last summer. And it was worth of it!

In drawings I editorialized composition, lights and mood of photos. Afterwards I can say those are pretty one-to-one with final photos! I´m sure I´m sure I´m going to be sketching all my bigger project in future.

Used equipment

In photoshoot I used Canon 6D, Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art, Godox AD360ll and Godox V860ll.  As softboxes I used Walimes Pro 120cm Octabox and Elinchrom Portalite 66.

This article and all the images were originally published on  and shared with permission

About Sanna Vornanen:

I'm a photographer from Finland and I made a tribute to all lumberjacks around the world. My father and grandfather were lumberjacks and they raised me to appreciate nature and woods. These days I couldn't live without forest and forestry. Let's Get Connected: |  Instagram

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