Fred Jüssi as a nature photographer
Fred Jüssi is one of Estonia’s most famous nature photographers, with his works representing its canon of nature photography. Many popular albums of nature photographs have come from him, oftentimes with short texts accompanying the photos. For example, “Jäälõhkuja" (“Icebreaker”) (1986, 2007), "Sügis" (“Fall”) (1995), or “Rajamustrid” (“Patterns of the Path”) (2017).
Fred Jüssi’s style is characterised by simplicity and stillness. His photos mainly depict timeless moments, and instead of focusing on situations or movements, his scenes capture some or other detail, concentrating on such things as patterns on logs or ice/frost flowers. Jüssi’s visual language is clear and simple, which expresses his oft-repeated musing on the importance of silence even in the photographic medium. At the same time, his photos reflect an extraordinary ability to observe, clearly demonstrating that prior to taking the photo there has been plenty of in-depth concentration in order to understand the object of the photos.
Like his recordings of nature sounds, Jüssi’s nature photographs are tools of perception. The objective of these photos is not to capture moments, but to find and perceive the order of nature from different perspectives.
Fred Jüssi has mused on and described his photography as follows:
“If you want to make of your experience somebody else’s experience, then taking a photo of patterns on stones takes a long time. Here, it is not necessary to capture moments, but to commemorate a vision. Travelling along one’s path on your lonesome, this goal may fall victim to temptations, but one is not forced to test for the patience of companions travelling towards some bird-filled cliff or mountaintop. Because the sun keeps rolling and the time of your travel companions, once spent, is really the only thing that you can never return to them. Stone patterns for the person trying to capture glimpses is not just an empty temptation. The egg that we call earth had lichen on it long before humans. It is thought that they began to live after the last ice age, about twelve thousand years ago. Lichen must have something to say. The expression of my recognition is pictures of patterns on stones. It would be nice to believe that I could touch the soul of some observer with them.”