Double Your Photography Website Traffic in 12 Weeks

Your content will be up shortly. Please allow up to 5 seconds
Featured Projects

‘The Branded Man’ | A Visual Retelling of One Man’s Journey Through Fire

By Hanssie on December 8th 2015

In February 2011, Nokia was forced to lay off thousands of their employees. They listened as their CEO, Stephen Elop, tell a story about a man standing on a burning oil platform; a man who had to choose either to jump into the water or stay on that platform. The man jumped into the unknown and in the end, survived to tell his story. Elop encouraged those employees that this was their time to take the figurative leap.

Toni was in the room that day and he was one of the ones that found himself suddenly unemployed from the company where he spent his entire professional career. Toni’s story “Branded Man,” tells about the battle we face when one chapter in our life ends and a new one begins. “Branded Man” is a story about the time when someone is seemingly defeated and has to find the strength to carry on.

brandedman-1 brandedman-2


Photographer Antti Karppinen wanted to visually share Toni’s journey in a series of images. Looking for a simple and strong approach that everyone could relate to (after all, most of us have had a trial by fire, and come up on the other side stronger), he settled on creating a series of images that would tell the different parts of the journey, from the worst of times to the rebirth and finding a new path in life.


With the help of two friends, Aki Vänni and fellow photographer Suvi Sievilä on a cold and windy evening last month, Antti photographed Toni in a visual recreation of Toni’s story. Antti used two Godox flashes and a Canon 5D Mark III with Canon 17-40mm f4L and Canon 24-70mm  f2.8L lenses. The main light consisted of a 90cm Octabox, and the separation light had blue gel without any modifiers. See the behind the scenes setup in the video below:


In post, Antti isolated the elements and began adjusting the layers like a puzzle piece, placing everything where he imagined it. Antti tells us of his process, “I changed the sky and some parts of the lake. I created better reflections of the moon and then added the flames in the boat with some smoke and mist. I did some color grading to suit the mood.” The finishing touches were added in Lightroom.

Antii’s latest project was one of his most meaningful he says, because “everyone faces moments in life when you are down, and you just need to get up and continue with
a new direction. I really hope people can relate to the images and Toni’s journey.

See more of Antti’s work on his website here.



This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

Please or register to post a comment.

  1. Mike Upton

    Great images, and a good story.

    | |
  2. Ralph Hightower

    Layoffs suck! At my second job, I thought I would retire there; I met my wife there. But she was laid off in 1990 and I was laid off in 1991 after 13 years. Since then, we’ve practiced “Paycheck Diversity”, which is “Don’t work for the same employer!” Since then, I’ve experienced two more layoffs; I was recalled from the second to use that opportunity to look for another. I found that job and the first week I started, there was a layoff in our group; I survived, but three months later, the product I was working on was killed. Both happened during the dot-com crash, or what I call the “dot-bombs”.

    | |
  3. Colin Woods

    I’m guessing here that the CEO stayed comfortably on the platform and had to make no figurative leaps.

    | |
    • Ed Rhodes

      he had a helicopter. duh. :)

      | |
    • Ralph Hightower

      Don’t they always? But in my 3rd layoff where the product line was killed, the CEO also got axed. On a Friday, our product group got the news from a conference call that was initiated from the president’s hospital bed room. Apparently, he had broken his back on a ski trip.
      Funny thing was that the president made it from his hospital bed in Colorado to South Carolina on Monday to assume the duties of CEO.
      That was a remarkable recovery for a broken back, but then I remembered that “Jelly fish don’t have spines.”

      | |
    • Dave Haynie

      Elop, a former Microsoft guy, got hired back at Microsoft as a reward for removing most of the value of Nokia’s smartphone business and allowing them to buy it for pocket change.

      Great photos! Sometimes wonderful art comes out of stupid and tragic events.

      | |