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Art Photo Collector

Posts tagged Finnish:

"For however dutifully we record what we see around us, the common denominator of all we see is always, transparently, shamelessly, the implacable ‘I’."—Joan Didion

I have recently discovered the work of Finnish portrait photographer, Perttu Saksa. It’s not often that I come across work that, aside from being beautifully executed, scares and disturbs me. Saksa’s series, “A Kind of You,” gives us arresting portraits of monkeys, trained as street performers in Indonesia, that reveal the dark side of animal exploitation.

These manacled macaque monkeys, trained by “monkey masters” and used for roles in “street theater,” are rented out to beggars collecting money from performances. Behind the child-like masks, these animals are suffering. This practice has now been banned, but these images are a vivid reminder that despite an attempt to entertain us, we should never ignore the anguish among us. —Lane Nevares

"We tremble at the feelings we experience as our sense of wholeness is reorganized by what we see."—Emmet Gowin

The Finnish-born photographer Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen is once again garnering the attention she merits. Experiencing something of a notoriety renaissance for her “Byker” series beginning in the late 60’s (currently on view at L. Parker Stephenson Photographs until May 11th), it’s exciting to see Ms. Konttinen reaching new audiences. 

Konttinen’s images, taken within the communities of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, sought to capture the humor and dignity of working-class Geordie culture as they, like other poor neighborhoods in the north of England, saw their homes devastated by developers keen to tear down the “slums” and replace them with architectural and planning fantasies that bore no connection to the people actually living there. Konttinen and friends, as part of the the still extant Amber Collective, lived in Byker from 1969-76 and documented the impact over a ten year period until 1980. These photographs should, therefore, be understood for their political and social undertones.

Aside from their didactic message, Konttinen’s images possess the power of intimacy and connection. The wonderful compositions and tonal ranges add to their beauty; however, it is the emotive energy in the images that sets them apart. I, for one, feel the love. —Lane Nevares