After a short trip on the American road with famous Magnum photographers, let’s go back to the initiatory journey we started through the Great North. While the beauty and mystery of Scandinavia evoke a dreamy poetic sensation, its feeling of isolation, solitude and sometimes absurdity probably appear even more on the faces of its inhabitants than on its frozen landscapes.
Probably not very well known across the Atlantic, Ismo Holtto is also considered as one of the greatest Finnish photographers of all times. Highly respected in Finland, his work has hardly ever been exhibited outside of the country and definitely not outside Europe. He took most of his pictures between 1962 and 1971 while working as a goldsmith. He photographed in his spare time and managed to produce an impressive body of work that reminds of August Sander’s images of the Germans. His portraits offer an in depth documentary approach to the life and dreams of the people of Finland as if we could see through their mind. The faces of Holtto’s subjects reflect their melancholy and sadness but also their hope for a better future. His photographs are as strong, respectful and beautiful as his own story – you can read more about him: http://www.holtto.com
“Holtto characterizes the fundamental elements of the human race as it is found in Finland: tough, rudely beautiful people, as the harsh Northern environment has molded them since time immemorial. They are the type of people who can survive in the Northern conditions, surrounded by the dark and frost of the winter. Holto’s photographs tell a tale of a bygone way of life which would only be known by the objects left behind without the wonderful power of photography”
by artist and art critic Erkki Pirtola
by artist and art critic Erkki Pirtola
More on Ismo Holtto: www.holtto.com
The portraits of Pekka Turunen offer a completely different approach to depicting people of Finland. Between humor and seriousness, with respect and generosity they convey the absurdity and the self-derision you need when you live in the countryside of a land like Finland. “Finnish society became urbanized more rapidly than almost any other in Europe. Those who have remained in the countryside now have their backs to the wall which is precisely where the photographer has put them for the pictures in this book. Against the Wall, his book published in 1996 (which became a rare collectible) tells us about Lypö, Tilkkanen, Mörsky and others, who live on Finland's eastern borders.” The outfits, the situations and the decors seem to come from another age, but their faces and expressions are timeless and definitely priceless!
Pekka Turunen doesn’t have a website, for more of his work (along with other great photographers by the way) : www.kominekgallery.deJoakim Eskildsen is not really from Finland and his photographs don't necessarily depict Finland but his powerful and beautiful images make us travel through Europe and take us to the isolated far North. Joakim Eskilden was born in Denmark but he moved to Finland in 1994 to learn photography and the craft of photographic book with Pentti Sammallahti. Between his early work in Denmark and his last series where he returned to his own country and visited its northern point, Eskildsen has visited Europe from North to South. With a consistent sensibility and sincerity for his subjects, he explores classic black and white and strong dark color photography, portraits and landscapes. Between 2000 and 2006 he traveled in seven different countries to understand and depict the life of the Roma and the conditions they face in a hostile European environment.
Sabina I, Kirkkonummi (The Roma Journey, Finland)
Tino and Ritva, Kirkkonummi (The Roma Journey, Finland)
Vodstroy I (The Roma Journey, Russia)
Skagen ll (Skagen works, Denmark)