About M Skaffari
Originally from Finland, Miikka Skaffari is a photographer who fell in love with photography in 1993 while studying Audio Visual Communications in Finland. His goal was to start working with video and film, but once he got into a dark room and saw the magical transformation of a white piece of paper into a black and white photograph, he was sold.
His strongest suit in photography is in editorial, travel and lifestyle photography but he also enjoys shooting live music and products. He has a software engineering degree and background which partly explains his interest in the technical aspects of photography. He currently lives in San Francisco, but is available for photo assignments on short notice and is able to travel anywhere to take pictures you need or want.
Latest Posts by M Skaffari
I had the privilege to shoot the Treasure Island Music Festival for Performer Magazine. The festival is arranged by Noise Pop and Another Planet Entertainment, both of which have long history in arranging festivals in San Francisco. The two day festival was split into party day for Saturday and more mellow lineup for Sunday. Here are some of my personal highlights.
Check more photos and review of the festival on December issue of Performer Magazine.
Some cool music comes from Portland, Oregon. One of my favorites is Red Fang.
I just happened to snap a series of shots of “Like Moths to Flames” where the basist, Aaron Evans and guitarist, Eli Ford are floating in mid-air. And I just had to share ;)
These are pictures that have been waited for. Children of Bodom at Slim’s in San Francisco. This is hands down the best gig I have seen there. The gig was sold out and they could easily have filled a bigger venue also.
Since being in Finland I have been shooting two days in the freezing cold. The oddest and best comment so far has been “Finland looks like another (icy) planet”. That’s because there aren’t any people in the pictures.
The band has evolved tremendously since then. The basics are still the same; metal with cellos, but their sound has grown and so has the music selection. The latest album, 7th Symphony, is constructed more like a classical symphony. Emphasizing instrumental pieces more than ones with vocals. It also includes two really beautiful, slower and more acoustic sounding numbers. Similarly, the gig included more dynamics in form of changing pace and intensity.
The band sounded amazing in the space. The range of sounds they drew from the cellos is unbelievable. From heart pounding low growls to bone chilling shrieks. Even though the sound is definitely very engineered and even foreign to the instruments, there is a certain warmth in it that is very pleasant. At times the music is fast and loud, almost cacophonic and in the next moment it can be very delicate and soft. Maybe it comes from the classical training of the band but the band seemed to have extreme control over the instruments and the arrangements always left space for one or two cellos to be leading the music.
All three cellists; Eicca Toppinen, Paavo Lotjonen and Perttu Kivilaakso did a great job, both musically and with the way they interacted with the audience. Eicca’s banter with the audience in his heavy accented English was like talking to a bunch of friends, which is a refreshing departure from rock star antics. Mikko Siren on drums is a great drummer and showman. I have not seen another drummer who stands on the drum set during the show as much as he does. While Tipe Johnson is a good singer he’s still not the same as Corey Taylor, Gavin Rossdale and others who sang some of the songs on the records. One of the highlights and surprise was when Kyo from Dir En Grey, joined the band on stage to perform “Bring Them To Light”.
I have been playing ice hockey for more than 30 years. Ever since I was a kid. It’s a great way to make friends, learn to play, work together and of course, keep fit. All sports are great for kids but there is something a team sport can teach you that an individual sport cant. One of the most important lessons I learned in life through hockey came from my junior coach Ule Renlund; “When you see your teammate struggling to do his job, make sure you are doing yours”.
This seemed a bit counter-intuitive at first. My gut reaction would be to go and help; do the job for him if he was unable to perform at the level required. But he did make sense. Here’s an example: I, as a forward, see my defender not doing a very good job at the moment and he is struggling. I rush to help him out and now what?
We have a forward who is trying but can’t do the defenders job. We end up struggling in the same task while nobody is doing what I was supposed to do in the first place. Even worse, it might cause a chain reaction of players running around trying to cover for someone else. Chaos!
Recently I have had the good fortune of being involved in few film projects. I really enjoy being around all those hard working and creative people. The work at the set looks very unorganized with people running back and forth. Someone yelling instructions to seemingly nobody in special kind of language that sounded more like code words to me.
For the untrained eye, it is pure chaos but the truth is, everybody has his or her own role, responsibilities and own chain of command. Naturally the bigger the set the more “layers” of people there are and the smaller the influence of individual people is. The higher ups make the broader decisions. As Best Boy, you know what your task is. You know your boss is the Gaffer who in turn reports to Director of Photography who seeks consult and leaves the final decision to the Director. And when everything falls into place, the result can either be exciting, beautiful, poetic or educational. Or all of them and more.
The same principles should be applied to the business world. Make sure you are doing your own job. We all have, or at least should have, a defined task to do in any small or large business. This task comes with role and responsibility that others in the workplace expect us to fulfill.
Similarly as in ice hockey, if you just run around helping others, who’s taking your place? We all have our own skill sets and competences. Even if a software engineer sees that a marketer is not doing a top-notch job, the marketer is still probably doing a better job than the engineer would. However, it doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be collaboration. Any project needs input from many different people with different tasks and skills. Just like a cameraman who can’t make a movie alone, the brilliant engineer can’t make a successful service all by himself.
Your role as a manager should be more akin to one of a coach. Setting the direction, supporting the team, making sure that everybody is doing what needs to be done in order for the project to succeed. You are not a manager because you can do each individual task well. If you find yourself doing someone else’s job you are actually not doing yours.
Just like in hockey and making movies, doing a task should be left to the individual who is tasked and skilled to do it. If the task doesn’t get done with the desired quality, the manager should be the one making sure there is enough support, people and resources available to get the it completed in a satisfactory and timely manner.
When we combine our skills and effort in the workplace instead of trying to spread ourselves thin in all possible directions, the result can be just like in the movies: exciting, beautiful, poetic or educational.
Step into a living museum, a fifteen minute ferry ride from Helsinki, the capital of Finland. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a perfect getaway from city living and great way to take a peek into the lives of the people in the region during 18th century.
The island fortress attracts locals and tourists alike, especially in the summer time, to enjoy the peace, greenery and quaint little cafe’s half hidden in the hills inside the old fortress. It is a popular destination for picnickers with it’s hidden beaches, rolling hills, vast skies and the Bay of Finland providing beautiful surroundings for almost any occasion.
There are a few restaurants on the island. Most notable are Restaurant Walhalla and Suomenlinna Brewery Restaurant. Both are definitely worth the trip. Suomenlinna museum and Ehrensvärd museum provide a lot of information of the history and the lives of people in the fortress. There is a multitude of events organized in the fortress during the summer months of May through September. The events range from classical music concerts to puppet theater. Check the event guide for events during your visit. There is no public transportation on the island and it is quite big so you have to be prepared to walk the unpaved roads during your visit. Ferries leave from Kauppatori pier every fifteen minutes to half an hour.
The fortress was built by Sweden under the supervision of Lieutenant-Colonel Augustin Ehrensvard. It served the interests of Sweden for only 35 years before the control was given to Russia due to the treaties between Napoleon and Alexander I. The Russian rule in the fortress lasted for 110 years until 1917, the year Finland got her independence.
Currently the island is home to some 300 families comprising mostly of people working directly in the fortress, artists and military personnel. The apartments are very sought after and there are only few of them available every year.