The vast and diverse nature, the midnight sun and winter darkness, the kind and welcoming people: these are just a few of the reasons why German travel photographer Joerg Nicht fell in love with Finland. He visits the country every year, where he spends a few weeks relaxing in a summer cottage. ‘Finland is one of the strangest countries in Europe. The nature is very different to central Europe. The people are more relaxed too.’ He documents his adventures with the LUMIX G100, one of his favourite cameras. ‘It’s light and really small, which makes it perfect for travel photography.’
Joerg works in the fields of architecture, travel and street photography. He likes to photograph everyday life: chance encounters on the street, extraordinary buildings, vintage cars and breathtaking landscapes. Joerg wasn’t trained in photography; instead he studied social sciences and received a doctorate focusing on social networks at schools. ‘I learned a lot while I was studying. Although I no longer lecture about social sciences, I’m still interested in the research that is done in this field. Thanks to my background in social science I have a different approach that is reflected in my photography. Maybe I notice things in my surroundings that other people just don’t see.’
He has just returned from a trip to Finland. ‘Because of Corona, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to go in the first place. A friend of mine owns a summer cottage in Finland. So for years now I’ve spent a few weeks every summer at his cottage in Finland. It’s not a second home, but I really feel at ease in Finland.
The nature is beautiful and the land is sparsely populated, so even in Helsinki it’s not as crowded as in other European cities.’ The opposite of his hometown, Berlin.
Finland is a land of contrasts, in nature and in seasons. The country is so far north that it lies on the same latitudes as Alaska or Central Siberia. About a quarter of the country is north of the Arctic Circle, and with 70 percent of the land covered with trees it is Europe’s most forested country. The majority of the inhabitants live in the south. ‘The Finns tend to be more relaxed than people in central Europe. I always find this a telling example: When you’re served cake at a birthday party in Germany, it’s cut into twelve or sixteen equal pieces. Everyone get the same size slice. But in Finland, they put the cake on the table, with a knife next to it. Everyone takes as much as they like.’
After months of being unable to travel, it felt good to get out of the city. ‘The summer cottage, spending time in nature, it’s really relaxing. I went to Lapland, to Lake Inari to witness the midnight sun. It was really beautiful to see the sun slowly settling on the horizon without dropping beneath it, and to see it rise again. I’ve made some beautiful sunset photos.’ His go-to camera is the LUMIX G100. ‘It’s the perfect camera for me, it’s small and light, so ideal for travelling. Thanks to its size, it’s not so conspicuous, which is handy when you’re doing street photography. I’m also very pleased with the ergonomics and especially the very large Electronic View Finder. Overall, the G100 is also much more versatile than my previous small LUMIX camera. The video functionality makes it really suitable for social media. Compared to any other camera it’s much easier and faster to produce videos for my social media profiles. To edit you can send the videoclips directly to your device with a push of a button.
The special microphone with OZO Audio technology by Nokia is very good also. I appreciate the fact that I can use the mode dial to quickly select important functions such as Slow & Quick-motion video recording. Having a versatile but still small camera is great, as my working environment is different every day and I travel with my gear a lot. I love to use my LUMIX 20mm pancake lens from Panasonic for filming and street photography. When I need to do a lot of filming, I mostly use the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm, as it’s a stunning zoom lens with great image stabilisation.’ Joerg has thousands of followers on Instagram. ‘I was one of the first Instagram users back in 2012. That led to a lot of followers.’ Besides photos of his travel adventures, he posts images of architecture and landscapes, and every Sunday a photo of a classic car. Check out all his images from Finland or from the many more places he has visited.
Berlin-based street photographer Joerg Nicht portraits serenity in the chaos of urban life: a lone figure crossing an otherwise empty city street, the glass and steel edges of high-rise facades, trolley cars clattering up rain-dampened streets, trains rattling over river-spanning bridges, and every Sunday, an image of a car that caught his eye. Havana, Chicago, Moscow, New York and of course Berlin are just a few of the cities that have inspired his creative work. All visible on his hugely successful Instagram account @jn.