Lights In the Darkness

It’s not funny – my Nespresso machine has been on strike for a couple of weeks now. The darkest time of the year! Thanks, dude!

One of my toddlers wakes up every 20 minutes each night (while the other one sleeps dreamily, cuddling his blanket)… so believe me, I really could use some coffee.

Tomorrow it’s Monday again and with my 8 euro a day coffee expenses on work days (that’s two lattes, Helsinki-priced) I’ll soon have a great excuse to buy a new coffeemaker since the expenses will quickly add up. Always think positive!

Another shot for my “Looks like midnight but it’s afternoon” collection – this was taken at 5 pm

I snapped this photo about a week ago while exiting a building. As usual, I didn’t frame or anything, just saw something I liked and within 2 seconds of that I had dug out my iPhone and taken a snap. Why? I have no idea. I’m not even on social media. It was just for myself, and maybe for this blog. All of you proper photographers out there will be doing a facepalm right now: yes, I know I should at least stop walking while taking a picture! Sorry.

Anyway, the building in this photo is my favorite building in Helsinki, architecturally. I’ve mentioned it before. It’s 1930’s functionalism and what I love the most is the design of the neon signs, lights and other details that match the era. I also find the curvy edges and stripped minimalism of the building quite appealing. The movie theater it used to house was beautiful on the inside with round hanging lamps, dark red walls and a very large clock on the wall.

I tried to look up the building for some history but didn’t find much. Reading this short description, however, brought back some unexpected memories for me! I had a sudden flashback of buying candy as a kid at the Varuboden store that doesn’t exist anymore. I would stop there on the way home from school with a friend – we would usually also stop at the Body Shop nearby. In the early 90’s, Body Shop was all the hype amongst us 12-year-old girls over here. (I still love their mango body butter!)

I also had another flashback: I was lining up to see Silence Of the Lambs with my mother but I was underage and they didn’t let us in (too scary!)

A third unexpected memory came at the mention of a TV studio. I had completely forgotten they used to do broadcasts from there! I even went on a dance show once, believe it or not! I had been taking all sorts of dance classes for years and all the other kids from dance class were going to dance live on a TV show, kind of like MTV Grind but a completely innocent teen version of it.

My friend dragged me there with her and did my hair and make-up, she even dressed me in her clothes though she was much shorter than me! (That’s what teen girls used to do, and probably still do: each other’s make-up with such a loving touch. Now if someone tried that today I’d tell them to go away! You eventually get stuck in your routines.) The music playing was Tupac and Return Of the Mac. The presenter was the guy who later on had the hit Freestyler (Bombfunk MC’s) – I loved that song.

I’m not sure why I’m sharing all of this. I played around with my new Adobe Creative Cloud tools to enhance the photo I took, but the quality of the original was too poor. I could start again but I’m too tired. You live, you learn. Next time, I’ll concentrate on getting it right already when I take the photo.

If you look closely, you might see a crowd in front of the building. It’s a 3 hour line to enter a new museum that was recently opened where the movie theater used to exist. Why are they lining up for 3 hours, you might ask? Is it a monthly free-admission day or some special event? Nope. People are lining up to see an exhibition that just ended today.

These lines were present every day for over a week! Never mind the cold slushy stuff falling from the sky and splashing onto your face and into your shoes. Never mind the fact that the entrance fee is 18 euros. They all wanted to see it, starved for entertainment.

I’ll catch the next one. Queueing in winter weather isn’t my idea of fun. But I’m happy the building has finally received the attention it deserves! Now everyone wants to go there.

66 replies on “Lights In the Darkness”

Happy new year! Oh no, what a disaster with your daily brew! I totally get you, Helsinki’s sky high prices were a shock to our system when we were there (we were very thankful that our apartment ended up next door to a supermarket). Your photo impulses also resonate, especially how the lights play out if the angle is just right. It is surprising that so many Finnish people will wait in line, I wonder if the queue is in total silence or if they start chatting to each other (which would be quite unFinnish I presume)?

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HNY 2019 to you too! 🤗 Hahah, good question regarding line chatting! No idea! Many were posting on social media while waiting so at least there was some virtual chatting going on, hehee! It’s very un-Finnish to chat with the stranger standing next to you in real life, you’re right about that!!

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My husband and I hired a Finnish tour guide once in the Nuuksio national park and literally he told us the bare facts and then there was silence. Put in an American guide and he would probably have rattled his head off… Love the cultural differences 😊

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Well, you got the real deal then, a true look into Finnish culture 😁😁😁 Or maybe he just wanted you to listen to the birds in the trees, instead of his voice? But yes, funny differences! Hope you didn’t feel you didn’t get your money’s worth!

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I like the photo. My first impression was of an old-style ocean liner moored at a dock. The ‘funnel’ on the left, the block of lights and color ‘astern’, the covered walkway around the deck, a crowd of passengers waiting to board. That impression makes me like it as a building too, and even if it is only 5 pm and cold and wet, the scene has a lot of life to it.

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A lovely post with a nostalgic touch. I enjoyed it very much. The photo has a dreamy atmosphere attached to it, the lighting is so beautiful. Your lovely teen memories reminded me of mine, although in different contexts. Time flies really. Happy New Year! ✨💫

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Sorry to hear about the strike by your Nespresso machine! We must have coffee! Especially when there are dark mornings and middle of the night awakened babies!

The building definitely has a lot of architectural appeal!! I like the scene you caught and the haz​y light streams. 🙂

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Yesterday it was surprisingly warm for this time of year. 62 F (which appears to be 16.7 C). And yet we are expecting snow on Saturday and Sunday!! It’s a crazy year for sure and it doesn’t take much for me to think it’s cold! 😉

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Regarding the comment about chatting in line – I’ve never thought about how that might be different in different countries. Not sure why, but I would’ve guessed Finnish people to be more chatty. Good to know!

The way you describe the building and your memories of it makes it sound positively magical, like someone could make a movie centred around it 😀
I’m not a “real” photographer (don’t own an actual camera) but, for what it’s worth, I do like your photo, especially the way the light reflects off the road

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I wanted to take my daughter somewhere special for her birthday. I saw there was a decent art museum in the capital city of our region (210km away!!! A 2 hour 1/2 drive). You mentioned “starved for entertainment”?!!🤩

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Contrary to popular belief, I like the result of your picture, taken candidly while you walked and just snapped at something you liked. Funny where our thoughts take us on a whim when we’re thinking about one thing, that leads to another and then another.

Hope you find coffee soon! 😉

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I’m glad you didn’t queue for three hours in the cold, no matter for what. The building is yours to behold in all the seasons. If you remember, take a photo from the same place in all seasons at 5 pm and we can compare the results. 🙂

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I agree with others that this is a great shot; the spontaneous ones are often the best and/or have the most feeling about them. I couldn’t survive without a daily coffee, so ‘hats off to you’ for surviving without your machine 😊

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Love that building! I can confirm, the lines were insane. Didn’t know that about Bomfunk MCs, the song came out around the same time everyone in Germany was going crazy over Finnish music, didn’t it? I was researching Weimar Berlin at that time, so spent a lot of time in Berlin, and Finland was everywhere. 😀 Of course, having lived in Maine, where everyone was either Finnish, Swedish, Danish, or Norwegian (with some French / French Canadian thrown in), I was familiar with the country. 😀 There were plenty of exchange students from these countries, too.

That building was among the first I visited when I got off the boat (well, figuratively speaking). Loved it, because I’m crazy about that era.

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Well, I for one really like your photo and don’t care if any rules should have been applied in taking it – rules are there to be broken. 😉
And I can so relate to your teenager memories – I looooved Body Shop! 😁 My friends and I spent hours there.
Oh, and silence of the lambs! Couldn’t bring myself to watch it in the cinema but waited for the VHS video cassette (now everybody knows how old I am to know these things. 😉 ) – it was just too scary!
Hope your Nespresso machine is back in working mode?

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Nespresso still not working, aaargh… 🙂 And yay, good old VHS cassettes – we used to record tv shows and watch them later, good times, hahah! As for photography rules, I never, ever think of them the slightest. Photography is art. Then again, someone once said maybe your eye is following the rules even when you don’t know it – could be! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

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Ah, that´s too bad about the Nespresso machine. You might consider going back to the roots and make filtered coffee for a while. Or cold brew which I just love. 🙂
Yes, that good old time when you could record tv shows, I loved doing that too!
And that´s right, your subconsciousness might direct your camera lens to find the composition all by yourself, at least that´s how it works for me I guess, since I never try for it intentionally. I´ve been on a photo tour once with a friend who does that though and it made me completely nuts! All those: “You´ve got to…” – really can´t stand it. I think I´m more the spontaneous kind of photographer. 😉

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Same here – spontaneous and I like to use my eye, design it my own way! I too had a friend who would beg me to take photos of her all the time, but they were never good enough for her because I was doing it wrong, against all the rules! Framing at the wrong part of her arm, for example. Argh! 🙂

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Heheh, I was JUST about to buy a new Nespresso machine, as an investment (!), but then the 2nd time I descaled it (in a row) it finally started working. Yay! And yes, Bomfunk MC’s were Finnish! One of the only Finnish songs I’ve ever liked – there aren’t many!! 🙂

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Happy to know your coffee-maker works again! This cannot be off during these days! (no days)
Btw, You as a Nordic citizen would appreciate this video, it is hilarious! I love his idea of Finnish language. Have you seen it?
Wow, I definitely know now that there is at least one Finnish song I like! good start! :))

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No I’d never seen that, thanks for the link! 🙂 His Finnish sounds really good actually! Hahah! I love stand-up comedy! Watching it, I remembered the Norwegians I used to work for in my airline days and how cute (and funny) their language sounded. And we’d speak the Scandi mix that guy was referring to.

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I was never a fan of stand-up as I better relate to Russian humor, and they do it in different way. Sometimes I feel I sit between two chairs, following no comedy – but sometimes I can relate to this and to that, and it feels enriching.
I find Swedish is more cute and singing than Norwegian one. But it is truly jumping, and I like it :))

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