All You Need Is a Red Bicycle (2014)

“Pictures should look like they were easily taken. Otherwise beauty in the world is made to seem elusive and rare, which it is not.” – Robert Adams (1975)

Having lived in a city for the last few years, an extended stay in rural Finland became an opportunity to rediscover the joy of exploring pastoral surroundings on a bicycle. Although neither new nor fancy, the bicycle was red! On the red bicycle I felt like a ten-year old adventurer on an expedition into both familiar and uncharted territories. I did not need high-tech gear to savour the transition from winter to spring in the forests and around the lakes near Haukijärvi, Finland. Only my curiosity determined what was a cyclable path and what wasn’t.

In Haukijärvi, Finland, it occurred to me that exploring the neighbourhood on a plain bicycle, just cycling on all kinds of available trails, was actually making me happy. I progressed at a speed that still allowed time to appreciate the visual treats the territory had to offer. I thought about what made this experience so valuable. I concluded that enjoying the almost childish simplicity of the endeavour, appreciating little things and non-spectacular beauty is something that most adults tend forget due to the strains of daily life. This is what the series is mostly about.

Regarding happiness, I believe the key aim of marketing is to make people unhappy with what they just bought by making them want something else, supposedly better in some way. Suddenly the new bicycle is too heavy, does not have enough gears, is in an unfashionable colour or of the wrong brand. Instead of using what we have, we research if there might be something better suited on offer, whilst being unhappy with what we have. “All You Need Is A Red Bicycle” is also about preferring experiences over consumerism. The colour red is important, as I believe there are too many grey products around. Too few people dare to be colourful in Western Europe.