Ever the turbulent term...
"There is nothing here"
An appropriate photo for precisely how I feel about applying for photography based jobs in Finland.
Over the last 6-7 years there have been more than a few advertisements for openings for studio or portraits photographers. Sanoma, Stockmann, HS and other media outlets or institutions have all sought out photographers over the last few years and I have applied to every single one.
I’m from the self taught strain so on paper I am more than aware that I most likely have very little appeal especially to those that will only scan the education section of a resume when looking to fill a position.
I’d love to know the percentage of institutions that do this in Finland. I guess it’d be a very high figure as most of these applications I have participated in do not even have the option to include a link to ones website or even offer a method of attaching an example of ones work. The applications have all been 100% text based.
It begs the question, if you’re looking for particular skills in the visual world and remove the opportunity to attach visual examples of performance quality, then what exactly are you trying to achieve?
In Finland, does a good education guarantee high quality abilities? So much so that it’s extraneous to look at the level of the applicants output?
Or do they merely filter out the majority of applicants by reviewing quality of education first?
My education was naturally unimpressive, the country from which I originate believes that a quality education can be moderated by simply training a child how to pass a test. Further education involves lots of deception, exploitation and for the student, emerging in massive debt with the same chances of employment as they had before hand.
It seems to make perfect sense to be continuously judged on my education for portrait photography positions.
Evidently the best songs have only been written by ‘qualified’ musicians.

"There is nothing here"

An appropriate photo for precisely how I feel about applying for photography based jobs in Finland.

Over the last 6-7 years there have been more than a few advertisements for openings for studio or portraits photographers. Sanoma, Stockmann, HS and other media outlets or institutions have all sought out photographers over the last few years and I have applied to every single one.

I’m from the self taught strain so on paper I am more than aware that I most likely have very little appeal especially to those that will only scan the education section of a resume when looking to fill a position.

I’d love to know the percentage of institutions that do this in Finland. I guess it’d be a very high figure as most of these applications I have participated in do not even have the option to include a link to ones website or even offer a method of attaching an example of ones work. The applications have all been 100% text based.

It begs the question, if you’re looking for particular skills in the visual world and remove the opportunity to attach visual examples of performance quality, then what exactly are you trying to achieve?

In Finland, does a good education guarantee high quality abilities? So much so that it’s extraneous to look at the level of the applicants output?

Or do they merely filter out the majority of applicants by reviewing quality of education first?

My education was naturally unimpressive, the country from which I originate believes that a quality education can be moderated by simply training a child how to pass a test. Further education involves lots of deception, exploitation and for the student, emerging in massive debt with the same chances of employment as they had before hand.

It seems to make perfect sense to be continuously judged on my education for portrait photography positions.

Evidently the best songs have only been written by ‘qualified’ musicians.

Efficiently using all the letters on the fridge and totally beating all the Shakespearian insults hands down. 

Efficiently using all the letters on the fridge and totally beating all the Shakespearian insults hands down. 

Finland, 4G and Nonsense

Here I sit in Sulkava, A small town in the East of FInland, uploading over 1gb’s worth of data via the 3G connection on my old iphone. A task which is quite unsuccessful in Espoo, the second largest city in Finland. Today, in Sulkava we have great weather, the sky is open, bright blue and lake Saimaa reflects the above in the same way a mirror would.

This feat has inspired many a thought.

Sometimes I get morosely perplexed at just how a country which has so much rationality and logistics with it’s choices when it comes to Education, Healthcare and dare I say Politics, but then can have such an odd stance when it comes to Technology, especially Telecommunications.

I won’t talk about the state of Nokia and how the noxious influence of abject greed has destroyed what was once a cornerstone in innovation and national power. What I really want to get off my chest is just how frustrating telecommunications companies are here in Finland.

I have lived in Helsinki for 6 years and can safely say that my experiences with broadband and wireless internet services have been utterly abysmal. We have tried all of the three major providers and had equally crappy results.

True, the UK is no better but I expect more from Finland, Finland cares more for it’s workers, it’s people and their well being. Finland has intelligence (currently).

The vast percentage of the countries internet supply is supported by the good old fashioned copper phone cables that delivery us our DSL connection.

Having lived in a prime location on the largest and busiest street in Helsinki, I can say that net performance in comparisons to the extortionate charges was nothing short of frustrating.

A ‘high speed’ internet connection offered by just one of the three telecommunications ‘giants’, cost 40€ per month for what was promoted as a 24mbs download speed and 5mbps upload speed but in truth was actually a 7mbps on the down and 0.9 on the up and after several drawn out submissions of complaint which resulted in no compensation due to the connection quality being ‘perfectly inline with company policy’ and would never be considered as poor service.

However the explanation that the distance and the quality of the copper DSL cables where to blame for such a large performance fall off.

I thought that was bad but now having moved only 17 odd kilometers away from the city center the only available broadband offers a 1mbps down and 0.3 upload speed (also due to poor quality copper lines), things have taken a very different perspective business wise.

My uploads for clients which consists of full resolution digital images (on average) is 20gb per month when not so busy and 60gb to 100gbs when very busy.

This may not sound like much but for a one man show like me, it’s enough, especially with such a slow upload speed. On average it takes 5 hours to upload 7gb and the bandwidth is so poor that our internet is unusable for any other task during the transfer.

I ask myself why is it this crap?

Well, it seems we are stuck in a moronic limbo while companies are struggling to decipher an intelligent decision of which direction to go.

Telecommunications companies in Finland are borderline idiotic, being far more interested profiteering from the ferocious peddling of digital television packages rather than providing fast and reliable internet connections to homes across the nation.

Currently they place all their eggs firmly into just one basket and the choice of investment is the infamous 4G network. A wireless method of net delivery that boasts blistering fast transfers, faster than the likes of fibre optic delivery!

Hmmm… fibre optics over a wireless network, I’m already dubious.

Recently, I received a sales call from an opposing telecommunications company, peddling a 4G USB thumb drive modem, not something that I was insanely interested in as the area in which I live is classified as a non functional 4G area which incidentally represents a good 85% of the entire country. However, the sales rep protested that the quality of connection would be at least twice the speed of our current broadband.

I agreed to sample the said modem if it was crystal clear that I the subscription be cancelled if it was anything less than double our broadband speed and also if it was anywhere near inconsistent.

An agreement was drafted and I received the modem in the post several days later.

I tested it on the evening and it unfortunately offers only double the upload speed, admittedly tempting in a loose respect but certainly not enough to justify an extra 25€ per month for a minimum of 2 years contract. However, the connection would not last for longer than 20 minutes before failing and then requiring several attempts to reconnect. The software that accompanied the device I can only describe as painful, clearly no resource had been invested in that area either so far.

Once again I sampled the 4G modem in the morning and the transfer speed was comical, some 0.70kbps and a disconnection occurring every 4 minutes.

Conclusion - utterly useless (currently)…

Why? Well, this is considered new tech and telecommunications companies are trying to form the cash to support 4G, they do not have the resources to operate it at a useable level to consumers at this time at all.

My frustrations are that even when they do, we can’t ignore (but they can and will) atmospherical conditions and local terrain will have a huge effect on the reliability, consistency and the performance of 4G.

I can only imagine the expenditure and resource consumption being immense with this size project and that it will take at least a few years before the providers are even close to being satisfied. Considering my past experiences with the level of service the consumer receives and the level that the provider is satisfied with, we as consumers are going to be paying high for poor quality. Again.

Now, I sit here having finished my 1gb upload and had the extra bandwidth to write this and surf a little too, all on a stable 3G connection. Impressive yes but this is due to good weather conditions and the large reflective expanse of water.

Finland has an extremely short summer and a very long winter coupled with the reputation for having very unpredictable weather however, so why are these companies investing so much into a method of internet delivery that largely depends clear weather conditions and  can be annihilated by the presence of trees?

Fibre optics are surely a much more intelligent method? Why is this being ignored? Is it because Swedish folk got there first?

In Sweden fibre optics have been already developed, promoted, and delivered to a large percentage of the population for years now. In Finland, fibre optics have been shunned and as a result the percentage of fibre optic services are in minuscule minority and by no means available even to those willing to pay whatever the price may be.

It just makes no sense, there is a huge revenue being lost and the available tech stays stuck in this under developed, under maintained and unsupported limbo.

Way to go.

My brother Ben and I at Harlech Castle, North Wales. Somewhere in the late 80’s.
Full write up and more images here:
http://www.tomaswhitehouse.com/childhood-revisited-ii/

My brother Ben and I at Harlech Castle, North Wales. Somewhere in the late 80’s.

Full write up and more images here:

http://www.tomaswhitehouse.com/childhood-revisited-ii/

My favourite beer right now…
See more

My favourite beer right now…

See more

Teerenpeli 8 year old.

Teerenpeli 8 year old.

From central Helsinki, to the forests of Espoo, here we have our new view.
Clean air, No dust, no noise, no agro cyclists or folk who can’t drive.
Nice.
So yeah, we found a new place thanks to Tuuli. I have the deepest sympathies for anyone looking for a place to rent in Southern Finland. The market is in absolute shreds with prices, availability and not forgetting the ludicrously small sizes. It’s all battered to madness.We’re quite some distance from the ‘action’ out here but we really didn’t have much of a choice. This is temporary digs while we save enough for a down payment on buying a house, hopefully next year or the year after.

From central Helsinki, to the forests of Espoo, here we have our new view.

Clean air, No dust, no noise, no agro cyclists or folk who can’t drive.

Nice.

So yeah, we found a new place thanks to Tuuli. I have the deepest sympathies for anyone looking for a place to rent in Southern Finland. The market is in absolute shreds with prices, availability and not forgetting the ludicrously small sizes. It’s all battered to madness.

We’re quite some distance from the ‘action’ out here but we really didn’t have much of a choice. This is temporary digs while we save enough for a down payment on buying a house, hopefully next year or the year after.

The Yellow Brick Road - Finnish Real Estate

I moved to Finland in 2006 and I still love the place.

At this moment however, I do feel obliged to discuss just the one gripe.

A gripe which hasn’t so much as worn thin but entirely disintegrated.

Ladies & Gentlemen, I give you ‘Finding A New Place To Live - In Finland’.

I won’t go into the details of why exactly we are moving out after not long ago moving in and renovating yet again, I’ll just say one thing only on the subject and that’s “Cunting hell”.

What I’m focused on here, are the options when it comes to finding a home.

Buying a house seems fair and also the most popular, the locations, the sizes and the quality of the homes all seem very nice. The catch is however, that getting a mortgage is widely known to be tough for someone like me, i.e an immigrant and a self employed one. The experienced opinion is that I’d have more success being a Dalek for a living or a paid astronaut with three blue tits.

Renting houses, whether it’s detached, semi detached or terraced is virtually none existent in Finland. Houses will rarely be available for rent and if they ever become available you will miss the opportunity to live in one if your not psychic.

“How long was that on the market then, we’ve been looking for months and it’s already gone?!!!”

“Yep, it was reserved before it was built, the listing was clearly displayed in a first edition of ‘The Prophecies’. You must be quick with these things Sir”.

Apartments are ten a penny and so here we arriveth to the bone of contention - the size of the fuckers in relation to the price.

Is there seriously a single soul out there that can honestly, hand on heart, swear blindly that 800/1000€ per month for a 40 square meter apartment isn’t just a little bit…. fucked?

That’s just the average prices in Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa. During our searches over the last few months, I have even seen a 32 square meter apartment going for 3600€ per month in Helsinki, and it get’s better, in the description included the line “Perfect for the family”.

Excuse me?! Perfect for a family of what? Oompa Loompas!? “I’ve got a puzzle just for you…”, Yeah right, like how the fudge are we going to fit all our shit in this sardine can and remain sane?

Just in case you can’t envisage what a 32sq meter place feels like in terms of size, try putting all of your furniture, plus your bed, toilet and kitchen all in your spare room.

Alternatively visit your local Ikea showroom and push some additional furniture and a toilet into one of their living room displays and voila! - “Perfect for the family”.

You can enhance the scene by thinking of engaging daily activities, like enjoying a family meal for example. Which in practise, is like living in ‘Das Boot’ and playing Twister.

“Pass the milk”

“I’m sorry I can’t, it’s behind Dad and your elbows in me fuckin ear!”

In Finland, this kind of size of an apartment is deliciously named ‘a studio apartment’.

Studio. Studio suggests ‘work’ but I much prefer the less flamboyant and honest English term - ‘A bedsit’, which kinda sounds like ’a bit shit’, and that’s because it is.

Let’s not forget that luxury isn’t totally void as some of these places will include a sauna! Usually the size of a broom cupboard but very economical as one doesn’t need to heat it for the occupants to break a sweat. Just close the door and enjoy the hot, intimate claustrophobia.

It’s a mind boggling feat. A country that must be at least four times the size of the UK and it’s entire population is less than Birmingham alone.

Makes you think doesn’t it, you could take Brum and spread it all over Finland!

On the other hand, there are perfectly good deserts for that kind of job or outer space.

If you looking for a place to live in Finland right now, my most sincere condolences.

After several months of hunting, I may just take the offer on that nice white padded ‘studio’ that included the complimentary jacket.

Winter Morning.

Winter Morning.

Losing clarity…

Losing clarity…

A brief leaf…

A brief leaf…

Don’ fear the reaper…

Don’ fear the reaper…

Flying the autumn flag…

More here.

Flying the autumn flag…

More here.

Instant new favourite way to cook a salmon. On our trip, Jouni showed me this method, cheers mate.
Check out all the shots from our adventure

Instant new favourite way to cook a salmon. On our trip, Jouni showed me this method, cheers mate.

Check out all the shots from our adventure

Fire In The Sky…

Fire In The Sky…

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