GLOBAL PRO GALLERY
Photojournalist Meeri Koutaniemi was born in northern Finland, Lapland. Koutaniemi started to photograph in the age of 15 and later developed her own career as a investigative journalist and photographer. Always worked 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 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 two times as a 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 17mm F1.2 in my bag. The first impression of these incredible nature reserves was an unique feeling of arriving to a prehistorian landscape with wild animals wondering 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 the tourism has 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 17 mm lens let me use it for successful portraits anywhere and in any light condition. I could whether choose it to be wide or intimate detailed shots in the direct sun light 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 talks of social issues and politics, but most of all, the immense silence around us which brought deep appreciation towards the nature and animals around us.