These are in roughly reversed chronological order i.e. latest first. All are picture stories i.e. pics and text/captions integrated together. These samples are parts of larger portfolios - send me email and I'll show/tell more. Most have been published in Finland or internationally (or both) and all are finished sets. The ones with only abstract available have their web presentation still under construction.
A burning question
Prime minister Narendra Modi together with his technocrats and the mining monopole are all out for extracting and burning up India's vast coal reserves. They are being dug up at massive scale, transported all across the subcontinent and burned at power stations to satisfy the energy needs of a billion people. The environmental and human costs are already well known and they are terrifying. Nowhere are these more evident than at the epicenter, at the Jharia coal fields in the east of the country. A dantesque vista for the future of the Earth unfolds there at the burning coal field of Bokapahari.
The greatest show on Earth
How does it work when man aims for deep spiritual encounter at the time and place where there are 70 million others trying to do the same? This is the set up for Maha Kumbh Mela, the greatest gathering of people in the world. It takes place every 12 years at the holiest location of the Hindu universe, the confluence of Ganges and Yamuna in Allahabad. The actual spot where everyone wants to take their dawn bath on the celestially determined days is just a few hundred meters of shoreline. Beyond the holy matters there are also mundane things like the business of creating and running an enormous tent city, feeding everyone and preventing stampedes at railway stations. Indian army logistics is challenged and so are many others.
In the dusty and drab Somaliland countryside striking sites are few and far in between. Half way from Hargeisa to Berbera on the hills of Laas Geel there are the wonderfully well preserved cave paintings of the ancient nomads. In stunningly vivid color they sketch the lush plenty of bygone times - cattle worship, hunting and daily scenes. Perhaps because of the recent chaos and war in the Horn of Africa they have largely escaped the attention of even the looters.
Color, Teksti 1 (lyhyt), Teksti 2.
Deep in the otherworldly terrain of northern Ethiopia is the Hawzien plain. Huge rock spires shoot up and sudden crevasses open up - the wandering visitor better be alert and with plenty of time at hand. This is the spiritual stronghold of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Up on the remote rocks there is a group of monasteries, the Gheralta cluster, that have stood the test of time and the ravaging armies. For millenia the monks - spider men really - have performed their prayers and the task of preserving the stunning wall paintings and other precious relics. On a few holy days believers and visitors can try to climb up, at their own risk.
A former Eritrean refugee turns the tables of his life by starting to transform war junk into tools for exquisite taste. Shells for smells - this is about the art of making espresso machines out of artillery pieces.
BW, Color, Text.
The Lusi way
Heal Africa is a foundation and a hospital in Goma, Eastern Congo. It's run by a very resourceful surgeon, Dr. Jo Lusi. He together with his wife, Congolese compatriots and foreign medical specialists try their best to alleviate the interminable suffering in a landscape of anarchy, greed and planned rape.
BW, Color, Teksti.
This is one of the most splendid monuments still standing from the ancient world. Like its Egyptian counterparts it invites one to ponder whether anything in our world will last like this cruel poetry in stone.
Palace of Dreams
The former residence of the king of Afghanistan used to be a splendid place at the end of a boulevard in the best location of Kabul. Now, after years of fighting, it is just a shell, a melancholy monument of man's madness. The chandeliers and fine furniture are long gone but the graffiti on its walls is worth take a closer look at.
Where rats rule
At the Karni Mata temple in Rajasthan, India, the goddess Durga is being worshiped. Interestingly her followers are believed to be waiting for their resurrection in rats. These abound in the temple, they are holy and treated accordingly.
BW, Teksti, Text.
Earth at Birth
At one of the volcanically most active locations on Earth, at the Danakil depression, the Somali plate is slowly breaking away from the African continent. The traces of this process in the landscape are rather surreal. Highlights are the vistas from former ocean floor at Lac Abbe and the blinding expanses of neighboring salt lake, Lac Assal. The latter brings about a sub story on salt extraction by the Afar people (BW and Color)
BW&Color Lac Abbe, BW&Color Lac Assal, Text.
Streets and alleyways the ancient city of Harar, Ethiopia.
Angel in Hell
A memento on Anna-Lena Tonelli, an Italian lady, who devoted her life to the Somalis, living among them for 33 years and helping them through self organized charity work. It was too much for some: at the end she was shot dead point blank by an Islamic fundamentalist.
The driving force behind much of the instability in Eastern Congo is the desire to control the gold of northeastern Congo. In Ituri there are some of the richest gold fields in all of Africa. Apart from various Congolese operators they have since the colonial times attracted foreign meddlers the latest of them being the Ugandans and Rwandans. This is the story of the gold digging and trading at the level of the ordinary Congolese miner who just needs to make ends meet in a land of utter devastation.
BW, Color, Text.
Blue on Black/Elections/The Night Patrol
The multinational MONUC and EU peace keepers in Congo are up to a tough task. Just some 20.000 soldiers are trying reign in an assortment of rebels and wanna-be-big-men to enforce some grade of order in a country the size of Western Europe. With ruined economy, deeply scarred population and a history of unabatting graft and heavy handedness from both outside and inside it is a handful to patrol. Several separate sections cover Bunia, Goma, Kisangani and Rutshuru.
BW1, Color1, BW&Color2, BW&Color3, Text, Teksti.
Elections, the first in 45 years, how does that work out?
The Night Patrol of Moroccan MONUC troops patrolling around the eye of the Ituri violence, Bunia.
The extremist preachers are a driving force behind the radicalization of the second generation islamic youth in Britain. A central figure among them is sheik Omar Bakri Mohammed, a fiery Syrian born islamic judge. Aside from his shadowy activities connecting him e.g. to earlier British suicide bombers, he has been involved for many years in the high profile and highly volatile Rally for Islam in Trafalgar Square.
Black as Bihar
Bihar is India at its dirtiest, most violent and backward. It is also one of India's richest states - in principle. The ground under it is made of coal. Around Dhanbad, in the center or the Indian Ruhr, one can see, feel and smell what the extremely rich seams of the Jharia coal fields bring about. It is a landscape of a runaway environmental disaster peppered with factories, mines and burning coal fields. Because of the heavy pollution it is the Bihari population that is paying the price for the energy demand of the rest of India. And then there is the bigger picture. There is so much coal in these lands that continuing digging and burning it would eventually wreck the entire Earth's atmosphere.
Nagapattinam was the epicenter of the 2004 tsunami on the continental India. Ten meter waves hit the Tamil Nadu shores at this place wrecking the coastal town and all livelihood to several kilometers inland. This is a documentary from day four on for about a week. The utterly destroyed town, smashed boats piled up to heaps in the harbour, the horror and disbelief of the survivors. It is also about the the Indian way of recovery complete with extensive grass roots activity, generosity of the industrial heavy hitters and even wandering gurus tending the shaken souls.
BW, Color, Teksti, Text.
There are many ways to rebuild a shattered nation. The hardest part is usually to get the people back on track, to learn to co-operate, to trust, to succeed for the common good. In Hargeisa, Somaliland, a group of youths is building the cohesion and sense of accomplishment though rigorous acrobatic training. Their background is checkered - from former child soldiers to war orphans and drug addicts. Through training their troupe has become a national event that brings friends and foes as well as long lost relatives together.
The incomparable Haile Gebrselassie isn't the only Ethiopian runner. Here's a glimpse at him with the young, most promising long distance runners during a practice session on an ordinary day in the Addis Ababa stadium.(Just pics)
In the remote Ethiopia badlands the men of the borana tribe descend every day to a huge crater to extract salt from a brine lake. It's a sweaty job that turns them into ghosts.(A short story)
BW, Text 1, Text 2, Teksti 1, Teksti 2.
Cornered but Fighting
There are few places on earth as remote and inaccessible as the Nuba Mountains. On them there are still some quarter million Nubas engaged in an all out fight for survival. Surrounded from all sides by a hostile army of their own government they elevate ingenuity onto a new plateau.
The easter celebrations in Latin America are a week long spectacle. The tradition peaks at Antigua, Guatemala, where Catholicism turns into a mixture of elaborate religious show, vanity and private moments of struggle and worship.
BW, Color, Text 0, Text 1.
Hecho a Mano
Cigar production in the Honduras. Story of the common men and women, who by years of practice turn into virtuosi of manual labor required for the exquisite "puro".
Half Way to the Heaven
The intense rituals of the Ethiopian church are simultaneously familiar and strange. The highland civilization has during centuries of isolation and struggle against hostile neighbors developed a highly unique interpretation of the Christian faith.
The Last Shore
At Gadani Beach, Pakistan, a crew of pathans strips a supertanker of its valuables and recyclable materials and finally take apart the whole ship for its steel. It takes some six weeks for a them to do this extremely dangerous work in a highly polluted environment. (BW and color)
Men for Sale
Slavery is alive and thriving in Sudan. Women and children together with their cattle are raided from Southern Sudan to the North for cheap labor, concubinage and forced islamization. A few western agencies are trying to locate and purchase them back for their impoverished relatives in the South.
The Endless War
The civil war in Sudan is the longest conflict in the world. It is a vicious war where bombardment of villages, crop burning and famine are used as weapons along side the conventional means. As a consequence the southern population is bearing the brunt of the conflict. Western countries stand mostly on the sidelines but some courageous aid work is done in the deepest bush.