GLOBAL PRO GALLERY
Photojournalist Meeri Koutaniemi was born in northern Finland, Lapland. Koutaniemi started to photograph at the age of 15 and later developed her own career as an investigative journalist and photographer. Always working as a freelancer, Koutaniemi’s work extends to over 50 countries where she has photographed and documented people with compelling stories of struggle and resilience. Koutaniemi has focused on the humanitarian side of conflicts, displacement and discrimination. At the core of her work lies a universal ability for empowerment and resistance. Koutaniemi has been selected twice as Photographer of the Year in Finland and received numerous international awards.
I travelled to the national parks of Botswana and Zimbabwe with my OM-D E-M1 Mark II and M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm F1.2 PRO in my bag. The first impression of these incredible nature reserves was an unique feeling of arriving to a prehistoric landscape with wild animals wandering around and dominating the atmosphere by their movement. I had a chance to get to know and photograph the people who worked around these animals, protecting them from anti-poaching and making sure tourism has a respectful effect on the surrounding nature.
We woke up in the rhythm of the nature. In the documentation, I have followed the locals doing their work in the earliest and latest hours. My gear was perfect for moving lightly from place to place, and the 17mm F1.2 PRO lens let me create successful portraits anywhere and in any light condition. I could use it to create wide or intimate detailed shots in direct sunlight or darkness.
I witnessed a strong dedication from the guides, workers, volunteers and villagers to protect and maintain their homeland’s biodiversity. We shared many conversations of social issues and politics, but most of all, the immense silence around us gave us a deep appreciation of nature and the animals that surround us.