Sunday, September 22, 2013


Jaska. Sept 15, 2013.

4 days after I took this shot of Jaska he went back into hospital to get the right side of his skull put back in. According to his family, the operation went well.
Last Feb, only a few days after I arrived in Rovaniemi from Norway at the Karu MC clubhouse, while rehearsing with his band Jaska said to the guys "I don't feel so good". 
At first mention it didn't carry that much weight, but when one of the band members, Tommi, noticed that Jaska was becoming very quiet, then it took on a different meaning. Tommi said that Jaska kept squeezing his car keys in his left hand. One of the band members had some medical training and knew exactly what was going on. "Call the ambulance immediately" he said. Jaska was rushed to the hospital, examined, then moved to a better equipped hospital in Oulu when they realised what was going on, and thats where his head was cut open and he had to have part of his skull removed to relieve the pressure build up. That's the part where he nearly died, as a blood vessel burst as they were operating. He nearly died.

A few weeks ago the members of Karu MC organized a trip to go see Jaska and how he was doing. 
It was a 150km ride from Rovaniemi to his house, so since my outfit is still in pieces waiting on replacement parts, rather than borrow and ride a loaner bike I chose to be a BFAD (Bitch for a Day) and ride on the back of someone else's bike, which gave me a chance I rarely get, to be able to shoot as I ride. 
And be a bitch.
For a day.

I spent the last two weeks sorting, editing, framing, and converting about 300 images out of the over 1,200 shots that I took from my 2 visits with Jaska. The first time was with Karu MC and the second visit was a week later with Jari, a club member who was not able to visit him when the club rode out there 2 weeks ago. I wanted to go back and chat with Jaska, try to get an idea of just how much his life has changed and how much it's affecting him and his family. And even though we chatted a little, Jaska's not a big talker so it was a bit difficult for me to get a good picture. Or maybe it's just because he doesn't know me. But my feeling is he's a strong silent type. He has a strength and determination that I believe will carry him through this.
The more images that I worked on and went through, the more I realized that whatever I wrote about Jaska would fall short of the mark. I don't know him well enough to write about him. Fortunately, I'm a photographer, and I took a lot of photo's, so my intention is that the images will impart and convey a more meaningful story to you than I can describe with just words.
However, the impact of how life-changing and difficult Jaska's situation is wasn't lost on me. As I wrote about in my last post, you only have a certain amount of time here on this earth to do the things that you would like to do. As you get older, that turns into "doing the things you've always wanted to do". When you have a piece of paper with "Bucket List" written on the top, well, congratulate yourself. You've made it further than many others have. However, you're also old and time is running out.
But in reality, life is just as fragile at 12 as it is at 42. On Sept 4th this year 12 year old Coulton lost his battle with cancer. He didn't even get to be a teenager for a day. 
Still think you have plenty of time for that trip you always wanted to take?.

Leg stretch and cancer stick break.

 Since Jaska and I had never met before and because as soon as I arrived and got off the bike I just started photographing without introducing myself, I'm sure that's where the "Who the hell is this guy?" look comes from.

Have the day of your choice and the life of your choosing.

If you are lucky enough to be able to choose.


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