Led Zeppelin And The Helsinki Bus Station Theory

I’m two months into this.  Into whatever Generator Photography is to become.

I just wanted to take a quick moment to say, “Thank You”.  Obviously The Zep can say that  miles better than I can.  So, that song’s for you, gentle reader.

Thank you for coming on this journey with me.  I could have just stayed in my little hovel and soldiered on without anyone knowing too much.  It was a big decision to bring it all out into the open.  More, to encourage people to read my thoughts as well as see my photography.  It’s harrowing stuff, allowing people in.

But, the numbers are encouraging.  As of this writing, my Affection rating on my 500px site is 124!  I have no idea what that means.  I just know that it’s better than 5 or 10.

Again, thank you for helping me make this happen.  What is “this” going to be, exactly?  I honestly don’t know just yet.  And that’s not a problem.  Here’s why.

Only today I was introduced to the Helsinki Bus Station Theory.   Espoused by  Finnish-American photographer Arno Minkkinen, I read about it in a recent column by Oliver Burkeman in The Guardian.  The theory goes like this, Quoting Burkeman:

“the theory claims, in short, that the secret to a creatively fulfilling career lies in understanding the operations of Helsinki’s main bus station…There are two dozen platforms, Minkkinen explains, from each of which several different bus lines depart. Thereafter, for a kilometre or more, all the lines leaving from any one platform take the same route out of the city, making identical stops. “Each bus stop represents one year in the life of a photographer,” Minkkinen says. You pick a career direction – maybe you focus on making platinum prints of nudes – and set off. Three stops later, you’ve got a nascent body of work. “You take those three years of work on the nude to [a gallery], and the curator asks if you are familiar with the nudes of Irving Penn.” Penn’s bus, it turns out, was on the same route. Annoyed to have been following someone else’s path, “you hop off the bus, grab a cab… and head straight back to the bus station, looking for another platform”. Three years later, something similar happens. “This goes on all your creative life: always showing new work, always being compared to others.” What’s the answer? “It’s simple. Stay on the bus. Stay on the fucking bus.”
A little way farther on, the way Minkkinen tells it, Helsinki’s bus routes diverge, plunging off on idiosyncratic journeys to very different destinations. That’s when the photographer finds a unique “vision”, or – if you’d rather skip the mystificatory art talk – the satisfying sense that he or she is doing their own thing.”

I’ve linked to Minkkinen’s original article above, I highly recommend you read through it completely.

And that brings me to what my vision is for Generator Photography.  Right now, it’s to stay on the bus.  The last sentence on my Bio on my main site is this, “I have a total, impassioned and unwavering belief in my art.”  That has not changed.  I have a vision for my art, and it is a vision I’m positive not that many other people will see.  But, it is mine.

However, the more I pursue it, the more I “stay on the bus”, so to speak, hopefully the more I will be able to articulate this vision with greater clarity and effectiveness.  And I know that I won’t convert the masses into seeing the world the way I do, but I also know that I can try to persuade as many as possible to come along for the ride.

And, whenever it feels like I’m going nowhere, or that I might have missed a hundred roads I should have turned down, I am reminded of this great graphic illustrating the true “path” of success.


So, I’m staying on the bus.  I’m confident that going forward, at whatever pace, is better than standing still.  And, again, thank you for coming along.


2 thoughts on “Led Zeppelin And The Helsinki Bus Station Theory

  1. It’s good to be here Glenn and I’m so glad that you are on WordPress, I shall be following your blog with much interest, having spotted that you use WordPress on Facebook. As for staying on the bus, I think this song is also appropriate:-

    Anything definitely is better than standing still – look forward to joining you for the ride!


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