I’m Martha Jurksaitis (aka Cherry Kino!), an English analogue photographer and filmmaker, and in April and August 2013 I went to Finland on an artist residency in the Finnish forest. It used to be a school, and my bedroom was an old classroom! While I was there, I became completely obsessed with exploring the place and the surprisingly raw and passionate feelings it gave rise to inside me, and I did this through taking hundreds of polaroids and writing poetry. After a year of fine-tuning and preparation, and some amazing help from my friend and Production Assistant Paisley Boyd, my project is now ready to take the form of a luscious, 160 page, lithographic full colour artist's book, from me, to you!
I have taken over 130 polaroid images and written 14 poems in this wondrous place, and I really want to share them with you! Finland at the turn of spring is a total wonderland - the thick ice falling suddenly from the roof with a crash, the heavy, deep snow that is there one day and has virtually disappeared the next, as spring makes its intense, rapid entrance and flowers and butterflies suddenly appear.
The lake was still frozen solid in April (there were a few scary moments when I heard some cracks while I was standing on it taking photographs!), and I saw fresh elk tracks in the snow, but in August it became a luscious lagoon for boat-rowing and swimming amongst the reeds.
I used a variety of instant film, including expired large format (4x5) Polaroid film that I shot using a wooden pinhole camera. Developing these large images involved holding the precious image against my skin to warm it for 90 seconds or more, in the freezing Finnish weather, before peeling it open to reveal what the forest wanted to reveal, in an array of colours from pink to red, to blue and yellow. I also used a lot of 'Impossible Project' instant film stock, both black and white and colour, and spent many many hours knee deep in snow in wild forests.
I am in some of the photographs myself, sometimes naked (I used a camera with a timer for these). It felt very instinctive to do that while I was there, even though I nearly froze! My poems are also extremely personal and exposed - in fact, some are so revealing that I thought twice about including them, but if you can’t be courageous with your art, all is lost :)
As well as images of people and place, nature and patterns, there are also some playful experiments, such as berries I picked which I physically mashed onto a milky polaroid, and even a rayogram - I laid translucent freshly picked red berries on the film and flashed it with a hand torch to expose it. The poetry is in both English and Finnish translation - brilliantly translated by Kirsi Kujala - so you can marvel at the mesmerising Finnish language. I warmly invite you to share this experience with me!
But to make this book a reality, I need your help! All the creative work has been done, and now I need to pay for the printing of the book itself. The money raised will be used 100% for printing and publishing the book to the highest standard possible, with lithographic printing. Only approximately 200 copies will ever be made so the book you receive will be numbered, and a very limited edition indeed!
Thank you SO much for supporting my project! I really can't wait to share this book with you!