”My trip to Tenerife convinced me that a smile is the most beautiful universal language.”
After an epic project of mine went viral in Finland and worldwide (the ICE DRESS -The Maiden of Finland), I felt happy but also exhausted.
I tried to prepare mentally for the “falling down” after such a big achievement. I knew these feelings would come and it would be difficult to get the good vibes flowing out of nowhere. So, after this special moment in my career, I didn’t want to just stand there and wait. I wanted to do something that would keep me going…
I had worked for 9 months without any proper break so I knew I needed a rest. I needed a holiday.
This year I have set goals in order to conquer my dreams, and I have been blown away after most of them have become a reality. In January, I saw a photo from Tenerife. It was a beautiful place, where the woods looked like images from a fairytale. At that moment, I acquired one more dream and I said out loud ”someday I want to take pictures there”. I just didn’t know that “someday” would come so quickly! While planning my holiday in March, I remembered that picture from Tenerife, and I wondered – could I do it now? Could I really?
My dear sister in law Tiia (in the picture with me), lives in Tenerife, and I informed her that I had been planning my own trip, and I had a crazy idea. Then I asked her if she could help me; I told her that it has always been my dream to make a photoshoot holiday.
I asked about beautiful places that she knew where I would be allowed to take pictures. She sent me multiple pictures of places she had been, and I was extremely impressed with the landscapes. It was a moment when your common sense says ”calm down and think for a moment”, but your emotions take you so high that you cannot control yourself.
My mind was already filled with visions and pictures.
At that moment, I told my rational side to shut up. Let’s do this and let another dream come true!
What it takes to make a photoshoot holiday?
I have been lucky to be able to travel with my dear husband and kids all over the world, and I have seen many beautiful places. But after I started taking photography more seriously, there has been one problem following us everywhere we go. When I see a beautiful landscapes, I also see people in them. I have visions that mostly include a beautiful woman wearing an outstanding dress with fluttering fabrics around her. With these visions, I always felt that I should have a model to make the landscape come alive. Being able to envision everything through epic editorial scenes (with stories and fairytales) can also be a kind of a “curse” !
There was no need to worry about the locations because I knew they would be fantastic. But I still needed to prepare many things before my holiday. I needed to think carefully about which lenses and flashes I could bring in my hand luggage. I needed to get the clothes and props for the shootings (without meeting the models first or seeing them in the locations). So I felt a bit stuck! My mind was full of ideas and didn’t know what to finish first.
As always, I want to make my props on a budget, so I went to a flea market just to get inspiration. I found several dresses that would match with the landscapes. I had only one week to prepare everything (and I had to manage all of this after my work day). Because I didn’t have time to sew, I hot glued pieces together.
After everything was finished, my suitcase was full of photo props and it weighted so much that I was worried if I could carry it myself. The luggage had more things for the shootings than my own clothes!
One big part of my dream was to take pictures with locals because it would challenge me to manage the photoshoots with new people experiencing a different language and culture. Tiia had asked a few of her friends and clients to be my models, and I was so grateful for that. They were all a bit scared at first, but luckily said yes! It would have been so hard to find locals for models without Tiia´s help. And, it would have been so hard to find the amazing locations without the support of those people who know about the beautiful places on the island. As a photographer, I felt very lucky to have connections that I had because it allowed my visions to become a reality.
Anaga, place that made me breathless
Anaga has a very big area of ancient laurisilva forests. The species of the trees cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The place is listed in Unesco World Heritage. 25.4.2017 I was very nervous on the morning of the photoshoot. When we drove to the place, I felt as if I was about to see something beautiful but I didn’t know what to expect there.
My model was the stunningly beautiful María. The moment I saw her, there was no doubt that she would be an amazing model and the pictures would be great. We decided to take photos in two places. The first location was a beautiful aisle with trees as a rooftop. When we got there, my jaw dropped, and it took me a few minutes to gather myself – that vision touched the deepest parts of my soul.
Then came the tears… tears of joy for so much beauty. I was about to take photos in a magical place!
Throughout the photoshoot, María’s presence was so calm and etheric. When she started to walk along that green isle, she looked like an angel.
The other place was also a one of a kind experience. It was in the oldest part of the forest, where only a limited amount of people are allowed to enter each day. I was speechless and I said over and over again ”You guys live in a paradise!”. Whole forest looked like a scene from a movie! The trees formed a green tunnel and we walked on stairs of clay. So unreal.
Beforehand, I was a bit worried on how I would be able to communicate, considering that I usually guide my models with my native language. But as we started I noticed that I had worried for nothing. Because I started to smile – out of happiness and beauty I was surrounded. Smiling together is one of those things that bridges people. It grows sympathy, good vibes and trust. I have learned that some things are just universal, and it can be applied in every place and in every culture.
Our world is a magical place and one of the greatest things about travelling is that it really opens your eyes to see the beauty that is present everywhere we look. In Anaga, surrounded by heavenly views and a lovely photoshoot team, smiling was not forced – it came naturally.
Model: María Ferrer
Place: Anaga, Tenerife
Photos, styling, edit: Suvi Sievilä
Photoshoot team: Tiia Sievilä & Whi Rodriguez
Thank you also to Metaphora
Behind The Scenes