Meet Liisa, a fine art and fashion photographer out of Estonia, and Håvard, a conceptual photographer from Norway. They found each other on Flickr and this is their love story. The last year they have spent traveling Europe and finding the time to be with each other.
Tell us a bit about yourselves and your work.
Liisa: I’m a 22-year-old dreamer, photographer and psychology student from Estonia. I believe that if you work hard, have overwhelming passion for something – and most importantly, have faith, then you can achieve things that seem impossible at first glance. When it comes to my work, I like to focus on the good side of life – dreams, possibilities, love, passion, longing, etc.
Håvard: I am a 20 year old (soon 21) guy from Norway. Sometimes I dream more than I live, but I believe that’s healthy because I’d go and chase my dreams whenever I get the opportunity to do so. I love travelling like so many others and I feel lucky to be from a place where I have the freedom to do so. I have been intrigued by photography ever since I borrowed my dad’s old analogue Canon to take pictures of flowers in our garden. Since then there have been more and more photographs but less and less photographs of flowers.
I enjoy taking portraits and playing with my creativity whenever it decides to be present in my mind. Sadly the creativity often takes breaks and wander off, but it always comes back to me. I think capturing someone’s beauty is easy, but to capture someone’s personality is hard – and it is the latter one that I like the most.
You know that photography is more than just a pretty picture when you can look at the person(s) in it and see their character more than you can see their beauty (or ugliness for that matter). The part of photography that tells stories, whether it is through personal work, journalism or even nature photography, is the photography that matters to me. It’s all about the stories behind that one moment.
How did you discover each other’s work?
Liisa: We found each other’s work on Flickr. Quite randomly! I can’t believe that a few funny comments on each other’s photos turned into this. It’s crazy!
What was it about the other and their art that made you feel connected?
Liisa:: I think what caught my attention was how he differed from other photographers who were doing a 365. His personality really shone through, especially his sense of humor. That’s also what made me fall for him when we first met.
Håvard: When I found Liisa’s work I immediately placed her as one of my favorites. It was – unlike many other conceptual photographers on Flickr – realistic but dreamy at the same time. Liisa’s work would show a world of dreams that could exist right here, in our lives, and that really got me. It was beautiful, colourful and filled with emotions and stories to be told.
What was your first meeting like and when did it happen?
Liisa: On the 17th of November, 2012, Håvard flew to Estonia for two days. I had asked him if he would like to visit me and take some photos together, and shortly after that he got his tickets and travelled here, all the way from Norway. We felt comfortable around each other right away and at the end of the day he kissed me.
Being so drawn to each other and getting so close in just one weekend was a big surprise for both of us. I mean, we just wanted to meet so we could take photos together! Apparently fate had other plans for us. Håvard even missed his plane back to Norway (just because the bus driver drove past the bus stop and we arrived at the airport 5 minutes too late) and we got one extra night together. If it wasn’t for that one missed flight, we probably wouldn’t be where we are now. That additional time helped us get to know each other better – as well as it’s possible in less than 48 hours – and make us fall for each other.
What has this last year been like for the both of you?
Liisa: Honestly, I don’t even know how to put it into words. Håvard came into my life and changed it forever. We’ve only been together for a little over a year but we already have so many great memories. Running away from Swiss mountain goats at night; freezing the whole night in each other’s arms 3000 km above sea level; exploring the streets of Florence and escaping from local rose selling gangsters; ending up laughing under the table when making (trying to make) salad; hiking up mountains and enjoying the most beautiful sunsets; backpacking in Switzerland; taking photos together and editing for hours, sitting side by side; having fun with my family at my grandma’s 80th birthday; playing board games with Hāvard’s family; having long conversations about aliens, religion, metaphysics, politics and the meaning of life, etc. I could go on forever. I just know that this is the best thing ever and I want it to last forever.
Håvard: My last year have been like living in a dream that slowly comes true. Pieces in my life have fallen in place and I have started to feel content and happy with who I am and where I’m going. All because of this one great girl. There has been ups and downs and challenging times, but when I look back at it I would not change anything. I have learned more about myself than I have ever done in the spawn of a year before. It has been filled with joy and sad times – awful countdowns and dreamlike adventures to other countries. And I have got to spend it all with the most wonderful person I know. We have grown very close and still there is something new to learn about each other every day. I feel like my last year has been a taste of what will come – and I can’t wait for the rest.
How has your relationship shaped how you create?
Liisa: I’ve definitely taken my best photos during the time I’ve been with Håvard. He’s been so supportive of my photography related dreams and always encourages me to go on. He’s such a determined person and that has inspired me greatly. Plus, I’ve got a few editing tips from him. His technical skills are badass.
Håvard: My creations have been highly affected by the happiness I have felt and the struggles we have been through. Photography have always been a way to express myself, whether it is the joy of seeing my girl again or the sadness of being apart. I have also learned a lot from Liisa. She has been an amazing support and ever since I met her I have evolved more than I thought would be possible over such a short amount of time. Be it colour correction or skin editing – she have always pointed me in the right direction and never been afraid to share her knowledge. I think there’s always a bit of Liisa in my work now, and I will be forever grateful for what she have given me (and keep giving me with every photograph I take).
Has distance been a challenge?
Liisa: It’s very hard to be apart from the person you love the most, but if they’re right for you, you’d wait however long it takes to see them again. Luckily for us, we’re not separated by oceans. We live on the same continent and our longest countdown so far has been 31 days long. Soon we’ll get our own apartment and distance won’t cause us any more sleepless nights or sad flights back home.
Tell us about your happiest memory since meeting?
Liisa: There are so many happy memories that come to my mind, but one that really stands out is from our first trip together. After another fantastic night in Florence, wandering around the streets and eating good food in a cozy restaurant, we got back to our hotel room and lay down in bed. Håvard was checking something on his computer and Jack Johnson’s ”Angel” started to play. Håvard started to sing along, the words meant for me. And in that moment I felt such intense love, appreciation, gratefulness that I started to cry. I had never felt so loved before. To love someone with all your heart and feel that it’s reciprocated, is the best feeling in the world. A few months ago, Håvard gave me a pendant that has lyrics from that same song, ”Angel”, engraved in it, and now I’m wearing it every day. It’s a constant reminder of how lucky I am to have found something so special that many can’t find in a lifetime.
Håvard: It is impossible to choose one memory. There is so many happy memories and I value them all a lot. If I have to pick one I think it would be from a trip we had in February last year. We went to Florence together. A really neat and romantic city. I had planned it as a Christmas present and throughout the whole flight Liisa constantly squeezed my hand in excitement. The memory of waking up together in our hotel room and having the sun stream in a little window that had view down to a small alley and the top of a majestic dome still makes it tickle in my stomach almost a year later. We lay there and watched the smoke from a pipe dance in the morning sun, and I don’t think I have ever felt a happiness like that before.
What are your plans in the upcoming year?
Liisa: I’m saving up for a road trip in the States (I’m dying to go back to the Smoky Mountains and Oregon!) and learning a little more Norwegian. It’d be nice to know more than how to call different animals haha. I’m also determined to push myself harder when it comes to photography. I have a feeling it’ll be a great year!
Håvard: This is a funny thing because I love planning. I am an addict to planning while Liisa couldn’t plan any less. And whenever I plan something, it never goes exactly as planned, so we’ll see how my plans work out. Anyway, I am currently applying to universities in Estonia. Hopefully I will be accepted to the programme I want to study and then we would be all set to get our own apartment together. That will be wonderful and I can’t contain myself – I’m so impatient to get to that checkpoint in our lives. We also plan to go to Iceland in the summer but there are always factors like money that might get in the way. I hate money. Always being an obstacle when wanting to travel. This year I wish to do a little more nature photography as well. I haven’t really done much of it, but I do enjoy being in the nature a lot, and what can be better than to capture wonderful memories while watching stunning sceneries?
Thank you Liisa and Håvard for sharing your story! Best of luck to both of you in the future!
Stay tuned on FlickrBlog, we’ll have a special Valentine’s theme for you for today’s #FlickrFriday, and later today, The Weekly Flickr will feature another wonderful couple that you don’t want to miss.