8 Exposures – Introducing the artists

Elina Brotherus

Born 1972, lives and works in Finland and France

Since the early 2000s Elina Brotherus has been one of the foremost contemporary artists in Finland. A recipient of the Pro Finlandia Medal in 2012, Brotherus is an internationally acclaimed photographic and video artist whose work is conceptual and intensely autobiographical. She often uses herself as the model in works that address powerful emotions and even painful experiences, yet her restrained and detached style raises the personal and the lived onto a collectively recognisable and universal level. In her art, Elina Brotherus has investigated the relationships between the artist, the model and the landscape as well as the way in which painting produces meanings. Her carefully constructed pictures have a studied visuality, emphasising the importance of light, colour and composition.

Kira Gluschkoff

Born 1973, lives and works in Porkkala, Finland

Self-taught photographer Kira Gluschkoff is known first and foremost for her work in fashion and advertising photography, a vocation she has pursued since the 1990s both in Finland and abroad. Her pictures are characterised by glowing colours and sharp contrasts as well as a robust influence from popular culture. Kira Gluschkoff is also an active portraitist who has photographed numerous prominent figures in fashion, culture and business. In 2011, the Finnish Chamber of Commerce elected Gluschkoff as Portrait Artist of the Year. One of her most famous art projects is the photographic series What if? (2011) created in collaboration with Elina Brotherus in France. Alongside her work as a photographer, Kira Gluschkoff is also a professional horse trainer and competitive rider.

Pirjo Honkasalo

Born 1947, lives and works in Helsinki, Finland

Pirjo Honkasalo is one of Finland’s leading film directors. She was awarded the Pro Finlandia Medal in 2006. Honkasalo’s best known documentary films are The Trilogy of the Sacred and the Satanic made in the 1990s, and the internationally acclaimed The 3 Rooms of Melancholia (2004) about imprinting an image of the enemy on the minds of Russian and Chechen children in war-ravaged Chechnya. Among her feature films, the greatest successes are Fire-Eater (1998), which won eight Jussi awards, and Concrete Night, a film based on a novel by Pirkko Saisio that was selected as the Finnish submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 2013. In Pirjo Honkasalo’s films, weighty subject matter is wedded to visual beauty. She trusts in the power of the image, allows room for silence and thus succeeds in touching an aspect of humanity beyond verbal definition.

Jorma Puranen

Born 1951, lives and works in Helsinki, Finland

Jorma Puranen is an internationally renowned photographic artist who has had a significant impact on Finnish photography through his art and his work as professor of photography at the University of Art and Design Helsinki. Awarded the Pro Finlandia Medal in 2005, Puranen is the recipient of numerous Finnish and international prizes. A key concept in Puranen’s extensive output is memory. He approaches his themes in the manner of a researcher, gathering data from art history, linguistics, social anthropology, even geography. Puranen’s photographs reveal the traces of humans and entire cultures in history, nature and particularly the Northern landscape.

Matti Saanio

Born 1925 in Turku, died 2006 in Ivalo, Finland

Matti Saanio is one of the key figures in Finnish photography, known especially for his pictures of Lapland and of the people of the North. Saanio studied to be a painter in post-war Helsinki and he also worked as a set designer, but his life’s work was in photography. Saanio began working as a photographer in Rovaniemi in 1955, and he had a long career as a documentarist, journalist and photographic artist. He was also a respected teacher and the first artist professor in photography in Finland 1972–78. He received the Pro Finlandia Medal in 1995. For Matti Saanio, photography was above all a way to tell stories: “I am a documentarist, but I do not photograph evidence, a work must touch the principle of life and human emotions, the truth and beauty of our existence together.”

Pentti Sammallahti

Born 1950, lives and works in Helsinki, Finland

Beginning his career in the early 1960s, Pentti Sammallahti is one of the first Finnish photographers to spend his life working as a photographic artist. Sammallahti has travelled extensively, but has also documented his home town, Helsinki. His work is characterised by gentle humour and the enchantment of black-and-white photography. A great admirer of craftsmanship, Sammallahti himself is known for his skill in the darkroom and high-quality printing in books. A recipient of the Pro Finlandia Medal in 2006, Sammallahti is one of the internationally most acclaimed Finnish photographers and the winner of several prizes in Finland. In 2004, Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the world’s most prestigious photographers, selected Pentti Sammallahti as one of his 100 favourite photographers to feature at the opening exhibition of his Foundation in Paris.

Rauno Träskelin

Born 1954, lives and works in Helsinki, Finland

Photographer Rauno Träskelin has photographed Finnish design, crafts, architecture and art since 1979. He has worked on commission for museums, organisations and publishers as well as many private artists, designers and craftspeople. Träskelin has secured his status as a prestigious master of photography capable of capturing the bare essence of his subjects and bringing objects to life. In 2013, Träskelin was awarded the Käden taito craft prize of the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation in recognition of his valuable work in the field of object photography.

Sakari Viika

Born 1956, lives and works in Helsinki, Finland

Sakari Viika began his career as photographer in the 1970s, and in the 1980s he distinguished himself by participating in many cross-disciplinary projects with artists from different fields. He has documented various art forms extensively, including dance, theatre, opera and fine art, as well as working for several newspapers and magazines. As an artist, Sakari Viika has called himself a street photographer. The central elements of his work are light, space and composition, the subject coming only second. Viika relies on his intuition as he searches for the decisive moment that, in his pictures, can turn the most mundane views into something extraordinary.