PHOTO © R.D. GIRVAN 2018. ‘Glacier Fagerström’ © R.D. GIRVAN 2018.
A muscled mass of grey feathers arrowed past Kai’s left ear through the open window and landed on the kitchen table. Flapping, the owl flounced around and stamped at him, claws clattering on the wood, like it owned the place.
Kai didn’t flinch. He remained in position upon his ladder. The owl was not his target. Shifting his gear, he shuffled on the metal rung, his boots whispering as they slid over the grooves. The ladder rasped against the wood siding, dug further into the layers of lead paint. They were like geologic cross-sections, the twin scars his ladder had scraped into that paint, blue atop yellow over white upon green. The place he had named ‘The House in the Woods’ had worn many colors.
The owl glared at him and then flew past one more time, something brown wriggling in his talons.
This Finnish December day would have 6.5 hours of sunlight. Kai had just spent the last four of them on his ladder looking through this family’s kitchen window. Waiting.
He shifted again, settling in for the day’s final 45 minutes. The wind made chimes out of the holes in the roof, shook rain droplets off pine boughs. Would tonight be the night he succeeded? He visualized them walking single-file through the kitchen, mother leading father in front of son. Silently, he promised them I’m gonna get you!
Warming his cold nose on his sleeve, he eased back into position, one eye closed, the other focused on the kitchen fireplace. He examined the red bricks through the sight, as he had most nights for the last four years, trigger finger resting at the ready.
One squirrel ran away from another along the eaves, the clicking of their knitting needle claws muffled by moss. The trees laid secrets upon swaying boughs and a broken pane of glass rattled in its frame. Another noise intruded, tweaking the tripwire of Kai’s consciousness: the scritching, scratching of his targets shuffling along the dusty kitchen floor. He waited until they were in perfect range. Finally!
Kai Fagerström used the trigger repeatedly, clicking and clicking, activating the remote-control shutter of his camera over and over, for the mother and for the father and for the son.
Hello Glorious Gang of Readers, Rhea here! This was a wee bit about Kai Fagerstrom, the award-winning Finnish photographer, and his work “The House in the Woods” based on how animals took over abandoned buildings. Working without a flash, waiting in position for hours at a time – over a four year period – he captured absolutely amazing images. Best, RDG