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Kari Kuukka

07: Dec 2012

Kari Kuukka has been professional photographer and photojournalist for 25 years. During that time he has worked for the majority of national publications and agencies in Finland as well as wide clientele abroad.

His earlier work consisted of what he describes himself as “real news” i.e. doing daily news for national papers and covering e.g. the tearing down of the Berlin wall, the Romanian revolution, the independence struggle of the Baltic states and intifada in Israel. During the 90’s he concentrated more on his academic studies (linguistics/psychology), continuing his photography as a means to support himself through the university. After getting his MA from the University of Helsinki, he did some post grad work in linguistics and neuroscience.

About 10 years ago he made a conscious decision to abandon the academic career and to fully concentrate on photography. He is presently mostly known as a sports specialist and he has covered e.g. the last six Olympic Games. He has been awarded several times for his work - and during the past six years he has focused more and more on multimedia storytelling.

In addition to his own photography, he teaches photography, video and multimedia storytelling in three different universities. He is also well known for his writing and public stance defending photographers and their right to maintain the copyright of their own work - as more and more publishers are very aggressively pushing the “exclusive rights to the publisher” -deals to freelancers.

He works independently as a freelancer and manages his own multimedia company - the first of its kind in Finland.

Kari participated in the December 2012 MediaStorm Methodology Workshop. He had the following to say about his experience:

I was very pleased and fortunate to attend the December 2012 workshop with MediaStorm. It had been a dream for a long time - but unfortunately the dates (there’s only three of these workshops annually) had been inconvenient until now.

My daily work consists of photography, video, editing, multimedia, teaching and consulting... and I felt I needed somehow a broad overview of what is essential and what is not. Not to learn the verticals - but to focus on the bigger picture. And I think MediaStorm has made a right choice in NOT teaching multimedia 101 but focus on the higher end and on the methodology/production side of multimedia.

I had two things in my mind prior to coming to New York: First, I wanted to learn from the best of the best in multimedia business which are the core elements needed in multimedia, how to learn and teach them. How to apply that knowledge to curriculum design for a university (under- and post grad.)

Secondly, I wanted to learn as much as possible I could in this brief time to take back home to my own team - to take our competence and efforts to the next level. Especially how to create organizational structure which would be stimulating and focus on qualtity. Be financially viable. So that we could finally start talking about professional multimedia production also in Finland (or “North Pole”, as I usually refer to it).

And I got just that - and then some more. A lot more. For five days I don’t think there was a moment when I was not concentrating. Eight hours a day, brief breaks to eat and get a quick coffee in between. 100% focused all the time. Really, really intensive. Lectures, seeing/evaluating/breaking part multimedia pieces, talking with the team, etc.

What really impressed me was the ethos/dedication/commitment of the whole team to this high quality storytelling and the work MediaStorm does. Not one detail was too small that it would not be discussed at length if needed. I understand perfectly what Brian means when he says that the story should be made so good that you just cannot make it any better. The whole team seems to live by that principle. Which at least partly explains the outstanding quality coming out of MediaStorm.

Our group was small (four) and thus our conversations got really interesting and intense. I don’t think there has been period in my professional life I can say I have learned as much in such a short time as I did during our week together. My sincerest thanks to everybody for making it happen.