Art Centre and Museum

Mikkeli Centre of Photography is an art centre and museum, specializing in art photography. Mikkeli Centre of Photography was established in 1989, being one of the oldest centres of photography in Finland. The centre houses five separate gallery spaces: Hall, Galleries I, II, III and Lounge Gallery. The centre is located in a beautiful heritage building at the university campus of Mikkeli, a short walk from the market square.

In these galleries there are changing exhibitions showing contemporary Finnish photography, and in Gallery III often photographs of the local cultural history and heritage from the collections of the Centre. There is also an Information Service Desk in the Lounge.

The Centre promotes photography and visual arts on regional, national and international level. The Centre organises high quality art exhibitions, conducts photography, art and media education, is an expert in publishing photography books and houses a Digital Photography Workshop and visual design workshop space Kultura for artists' work, education and research. We work in cooperation with the Cultural Services of Mikkeli City and Arts Promotion Centre Finland. The Centre is also a member of Finnish Museums Association.

Exhibitions 2022


20.1.–12.3.2022*
Hall, Lounge, Galleries I and II: Olli Jaatinen: Bird Vision – Aerial Photos of Mikkeli
Gallery III: Photojournalism 2020 slideshow (Finnish Photojournalists' Association)

17.3.–7.5.2022
Hall, Lounge, Galleries I–III: Tero Puha

19.5.–20.8.2022
Hall: The Life in Inkilänhovi in the Early 20th Century as Depicted by Miller Siblings
Gallery III: Aerial Photos by Paavo Jussi-Pekka and Erkki Kakkonen

9.6.–20.8.2022 (extended time)
Hall, Lounge, Gallery I: Documentary Photo NOW!
(Jaakko Avikainen, Rio Gandara, Ella Kiviniemi, Juhani Niiranen, Timo Pyykkö, Liisa Takala)
Gallery II: Pekka Sipilä: Anti-war cartoons
Gallery III: The life in Inkilänhovi in the Early 20th Century as Depicted by Miller Siblings

1.9.–15.10.2022
Hall & Lounge: Touko Hujanen**
Gallery I: Martti Matilainen**
Gallery II: Kapa**
Gallery III: The Life in Inkilänhovi in the Early 20th Century as Depicted by Miller Siblings**

3.11.–10.12.2022
Hall & Lounge: Marja Söderlund
Galleries I & II: Anne Kalliola/Päivi Röppänen
Gallery III: Historical Mikkeli Collection
______

*Mikkeli Centre of Photography begins its exhibition season 2022 by opening a unique and diverse view of the local environment by previously unseen aerial photography. Maintaining sustainable development requires not only a sense of local identity, but also an appreciation, care and respect for our common world. The Cultural Path of Media Education will also be organized for schoolchildren with video streams from the Centre.

** These is our exhibitions No. 277–280.

FOUR NEW EXHIBITIONS UNTIL 15.10.2022

Touko Hujanen: Maria and Justus having dinner. 2018.

Touko Hujanen
SPIRIT OF THE RUTABAGA

1.9.–15.10.2022

Lasse Nordlund and Maria Dorff have founded a School for self sufficiency, Omavaraopisto, in Valtimo, North Karelia. Touko Hujanen has documented the family's lifestyle and the building of the school since 2018. Spirit of the Rutabaga (Lantun henki) exhibition combines pictures of everyday life of the family (2018), work parties for the Omavaraopisto (2018–2020) and the first active course of the school (2021).

Touko Hujanen (b. 1986, Tampere) is an award winning photojournalist specialized in classic reportage. He works for Finnish and international media, publishes an experimental newspaper, teaches photojournalism and makes books and exhibitions.

Kapa: Diary Entries, 2019.

Kapa
DIARY ENTRIES

1.9.–15.10.2022

My exhibition consists of two series: Ward 5 is part of a series I shot while in the hospital in tubes two months after a failed hip operation; Diary entries have been created based on the interpretations of the landscapes I have experienced at different times and in different places.

Kapa [Martti Kapanen] (born 1949, Suolahti) graduated from the Lahti Institute of Art and Design (now the Design Institute of the LAB University of Applied Sciences) in 1975. Several solo and joint exhibitions in Finland and abroad. Additional state artist's pension 2012. With age, the ax's blade has dulled and replaced by a serene, quieter aesthetic, "let the youth scream".

Martti Matilainen: Back to Nature, 2018.

Martti Matilainen
BACK TO NATURE

1.9.–15.10.2022

The series Back to Nature deals with disappearing small villages in the countryside as well as individual farms and houses. The topic is therefore close to me, because I walk in the woods with my dogs every day, and the whole idea and atmosphere of the series of works was born there. It is created by my own experiences and memories, but still reality. This is increasingly part of the current Finnish rural landscape. The small farms and other dwellings that were cleared a long time ago are disappearing back into nature.

Martti Matilainen (b. 1948, Helsinki) is a visual artist from Pieksämäki. He was graduated as a sculptor from The Fine Arts Academy of Finland. In the recent years he has mainly made photographic art. He has held numerous private exhibitions in different parts of Finland and participated in group exhibitions and art competitions, for which he has received several awards (e.g. Fotofinlandia finalist 2016). Matilainen's subjects are versatile, sometimes a bit opinionated, and their central subject is usually human life.

Millers: Three on the Bridge, circa 1910.

The Life in Inkilänhovi in the Early 20th Century
as Depicted by Miller Siblings

1.9.–15.10.2022

The history of Inkilä Manor in Juva dates back to the 16th century. At that time, the region was called Laihaniemi. The man named Inki was the one who started the story: in 1572, Ingila is said to have had three horses, three cows, seven sheep, and a goat. The tradition has been preserved.

Over the centuries, Inkilänhovi has changed hands several times. Gunsmith Tuomas Juhonpoika owned the manor in the 17th century. He left the still-used name Sepänniemi.

During the Great Northern War in the early 18th century, the Tawast brothers bought the manor. Their sister Kristina Tawast married Livian Kristian Wahl. It is believed that Wahl would have imported a pea variety from the Baltics, known in the Lund Gene Bank as “Inkilä pea”.

The great boom of Inkilä was experienced during the Poppius family in the late 18th century and early 19th century. The Poppius were a priestly family from Juva and also owned the Vehmaa manor.

The manor was bought from the inheritance of Poppius in 1847 by Sergeant Karl Miller, whose family owned the manor until the 1970s, when opera singer Martti and his wife Annukka Talvela bought the farm. The Inkilänhovi underwent extensive renovations during 1979–81. Talvelas’ interest in organic farming arose in the years when the family lived in Central Europe and the United States, from where eco-thinking also began to spread to Finland.

After Martti Talvela's death in 1989, the manor was owned by Talvelas’ daughter Johanna with her husband Severi Hirvonen. The trade is organic farming and sheep farming.

Photography developed into a major form of recording in the era of the Miller family. The estate of Inkilänhovi consists of twenty photo albums and thousands of photos. Only a few albums compiled by Ella, Hugo and August (Atte) Miller have been selected for this exhibition. It is not clear exactly which shots from those albums were typed by anyone. Thus, there may be several Miller shots in this exhibition in addition to the trio mentioned.

On the one hand, the subjects of Millers’ photographs are snapshots commonly seen in family albums, on the other hand, they tell of the photographers’ efforts to create something classic – the Golden Age of Finnish Art was lived at that time, and Millers could not have avoided seeing Albert Edelfelt's or Akseli Gallen-Kallela's paintings.

The pictures in the exhibition are from the collections of Johanna Hirvonen / Inkilänhovi, Heikki Miller, Risto Miller and Torsti Miller.

The exhibition is curated and executed by Olli Jaatinen, MA, the artistic director of the Mikkeli Centre of Photography.

PREVIOUS EXHIBITIONS

Timo Pyykkö: Member of Parliament Jussi Halla-aho, 27 February 2020.

PHOTOJOURNALISM NOW!
Jaakko Avikainen, Rio Gandara, Ella Kiviniemi, Juhani Niiranen, Timo Pyykkö, Liisa Takala

9.6.–20.8.2022

Photojournalism NOW! is an exhibition curated by photographer Olli Jaatinen (b. 1960, Mikkeli) that features the work of six editorial and press photographers. This exhibition is a continuation of the Arkemme kuvittajat (Our Daily Illustrators) exhibition compiled by Jaatinen in 2005, which included Juhani Niiranen, Timo Pyykkö and Liisa Takala. In addition to them, Jaakko Avikainen, Rio Gandara and Ella Kiviniemi are presented as “new” photographers. The exhibition has been supported by the JOKES – Foundation for the Promotion of Journalistic Culture.

Jaakko Avikainen (b. 1959, Varkaus) began his journey as a press photographer in Savon Sanomat in the early 1980’s. He had his most significant career in Helsinki in the service of the Finnish photo agency Lehtikuva, where he was also awarded several times. Avikainen ended his career in Länsi-Savo newspaper in 2021. Now he is retired.

Rio Gandara (b. 1977, Bandung, Indonesia) received an Apprenticeship in Photography from Timo Junttila Studio in 2007–2009. From 2010 to 2013, he worked as a freelance photographer, and since 2013 at Helsingin Sanomat. Acknowledgments include e.g. Sports Photo of the Year (Finnish Photojournalists Association) 2018 and Patricia Seppälä Foundation's Photojournalist Award 2022.

Ella Kiviniemi (b. 1991, Helsinki) is a photographer and filmmaker. She studied photojournalism at the University of Tampere in 2011–17 and in Denmark in 2015–16. Kiviniemi is currently studying at Aalto University in the master's program in photography, with a minor in film editing. She has worked as a press photographer for e.g. Aamulehti, Keskipohjanmaa and Helsingin Sanomat. In the Finnish Photojournalism Competition 2021, Kiviniemi was awarded the Reportage of the Year Award.

Juhani Niiranen (b. 1959, Ylöjärvi) has a master's degree in political science (University of Turku, 1990). He received his degree in photography from the Lahti Institute of Design in 1995. After a period as a freelance photographer, Niiranen has worked as a staff photographer for Helsingin Sanomat since 2006.

Timo Pyykkö (b. 1973 Imatra) is an editorial photographer living in Helsinki. After graduating from the Lahti Institute of Design (1999), he has worked for A-lehdet Oy for the first 14 years. For several years now, his work has also included filming and editing. During his career, Pyykkö has been awarded e.g. in the Finnish Photojournalism Competition and as the Editorial Photographer of the Year.

Liisa Takala (b. 1966, Mäntyharju) is a Helsinki-based photographer who graduated from the Lahti Institute of Design in 1994. She has also been lecturing about portrait photography at the University of Tampere. Takala has been awarded as the Press Photographer of the Year, among other mentions. Takala belongs to the ”Vapaat naiset” (Free Women) group, which in the autumn of 2017 published the book Kaupunkisaunoja (Gummerus).

Pekka Sipilä: Special Police Operation, 13.3.2022.

Pekka Sipilä
ANTI-WAR CARTOONS

9.6.–20.8.2022


Pekka Sipilä (b. 1964, Hattula) is a Helsinki-based photographer who graduated from the University of Art and Design Helsinki (now: Aalto University). Sipilä has worked as a photo editor and graphic artist. In the spring of 2022, he began making anti-war cartoons in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Special police operation: 13 March 2022 Protests for peace were intercepted by police in Russia. A law came into force that could result in up to 15 years in prison for opposing the war.



Paavo Jussi-Pekka: Kaihu, Mikkeli, 1980s.

Aerial photos by Paavo Jussi-Pekka and Erkki Kakkonen

19.5.–4.6.2022

Paavo Jussi-Pekka (1936–2014) acquired the pilot's qualifications in 1970. He made aerial photographs for several clients, including urban and road planning, Mikkeli's water and environmental district, architectural firms and forestry owners. In addition to flying, Jussi-Pekka was the airport manager at Mikkeli Airport.

Photography was a hobby for Jussi-Pekka, which he handled well. Aerial photography is a demanding area of photography. Paavo flew alone and used handheld camera because the vibration of the engine would have caused unsharpness when using the tripod.

Back in the 1990s, most aerial photography was subject to authorization. For photographing certain sites - such as bridges and railways, there a written permission was needed from the Operational Department of the Aviation Board.


The long-time photographer, journalist and editor-in-chief of the newspaper Länsi-Savo, Erkki Kakkonen (1925–2014), started as a photographer in the Mikkeli Sanomat in the early 1950s. Initially, his interest focused on sports photography. Since sports were usually only on weekends, Erkki started photographing "pictures of the day" on everyday life: first snow, summer carpet laundry on the river etc. Kakkonen became editor-in-chief of Länsi-Savo in 1976, when the photographing was left to the younger journalists in the house.

The aerial photographs of the now presented video installation were filmed in the 1960s on 6x6 black and white film and digitized at the Centre in the fall of 2020 by Mikko Mäkeläinen.

Erkki Kakkonen's heir has donated Erkki's pictorial estate to the Mikkeli Centre of Photography.

Tero Puha: From the series Autopsy of Love, 2002.

TERO PUHA
Two Divided by Zero

Photographic works and a short film from 2002–2022

Several random factors, independent of us, define where and what kind of people we are born as. Each of us is a unique individual. We cannot remember our birth, but will we eventually be able to realize that we have just died? The name of the exhibition refers to a mathematical equation that results in ‘infinity’ or ‘error’. It also refers to a kind of balance or its impossibility.

Is the consciousness living in our bodies unique? We are able to clone matter: meat and tissue. But could the soul also be cloned? And does the soul have gender? In the physical body, we are basically determined by biological gender. We can accept, reject or question it. If we wish, we can try to correct it.

The images in the exhibition are the result of these reflections in 2002–2022. The theme is also supported by the short film Original, completed in 2019.

Tero Puha (b. 1971) a photographer, visual artist and filmmaker working with digital and analog media.

Puha has worked in Helsinki, London, Paris, Berlin and New York. His art has been exhibited internationally and can be found in the collections of several art museums. Puha was awarded with Finnish State Prize in Photographic Arts in 2014.

In his creative work, he often explores the life of the modern individual, focusing on body image, identity, gender roles and consumerism. Attempts to define the line between the natural and the unnatural are bound to create conflicts and pressures for the modern individual in search of identity and purpose in life. They are the sources of Puha’s inspiration. Tero Puha´s work is supported by The Finnish Cultural Foundation.

Olli Jaatinen: Jurassic Rock, Kenkäveronniemi, Mikkeli, 10.8.2014.

BIRD VISION – AERIAL PHOTOS OF MIKKELI
Olli Jaatinen

Over the decades, at least Väinö Bremer, Erkki Kakkonen and Paavo Jussi-Pekka have photographed Mikkeli from the air. They have all been experienced pilots and usually they have flown alone when photographing.

Before moving to Ristiina's Honkaharju Estate in 1933, Väinö Bremer had just made an exclusive flight around the Earth with his Junkers plane, which is now hanging on the roof of the departure hall of Helsinki-Vantaa Airport.

In 2012, I edited a book called Bird’s Eye View of Mikkeli from the shots of pilot Paavo Jussi-Pekka. To avoid using the same name, I now ended up with the additional phrase “bird vision”. It tells me, I think, about the feeling when you’ve got on your wings, detached from the earth’s crust, and gliding above everyday at a height of about thousand feet. The magic of leaving your normal state of mind and watching the view with your new eyes. Through the eyes of a bird. How enchanting!

Since I do not have the pilot's license, I have used the services of the Mikkeli Aviation Association: Kai Vana, the chairman of the association, has flown me twice in 2014 and 2015. I then submitted the upcoming book Mikkeli - A City in Transformation, which includes a few of my shots. There are about twenty of my previously unseen pictures in this show. Lots of details in large prints. Improvements to the Highway 5 are underway, as well as a Jurassic Rock event on the Kenkävero Peninsula.

An interesting feature in the aerial photography is that the new perspective on the familiar city makes visible things that the frog’s perspective will not take into account. I look at my images fresh and a bit like a town plan architect for whom a similar perspective is commonplace. However, the town plan in Mikkeli does not only mean a grid pattern, but many road lines have been drawn, at least seemingly freehand.

Olli Jaatinen (b. 1960, Haukivuori) is an established photographer from Mikkeli. In addition to dozens of exhibitions, he has focused on making picture books for the past fifteen years, which he has already done sixteen. In addition to numerous own books, Jaatinen edits a new book by Leo Montonen (1905–1968), a photographer from Puumala. Jaatinen is an honorary member of the Finnish Association of Photographic Artists.

Silja Viitala: Keskustan puoluekokous 2020, Oulu

PHOTOJOURNALISM 2020 PRESENTATION
The Finnish Photojournalists Assiciation

Finland's oldest and the only photojournalism and documentary image competition brings together the best images of the year: the most important and significant news events and the brightest gems of documentary narration.

In addition to the winners, the exhibition has also included a wider selection of competition photos to present the full range of work by Finnish photojournalists and documentaries. The competition, formerly known as The Press Photos of the Year, is organized by the Finnish Photojournalists Association. The competition has been held since 1962. Eightyone photographers took part in the Photojournalism 2020 Competition with 1981 images that provide a cross-section of what happened last year.

“The exceptional year was reflected in the competition photos as a choice of subjects, symbols and a change in the way we were photographed. The pandemic has also brought numerous challenges and limitations to the work of photojournalists and documentaries. In these difficult circumstances, photographers have found their own ways of creating impressive and interesting photographs that remain documentaries of a significant period and the changes it brings,” says Antti Yrjönen, chairman of the Finnish Photojournalists Association.

The winners were chosen by an independent jury consisting of photographic researcher and curator Riitta Raatikainen, screenwriter-director Aino Suni and professor Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger.

Lehtikuva of the Year is Silja Viitala's photo of the Center Party Conference in Oulu. The jury comments on the humorous and insignificant picture as follows:

"The photographer speaks volumes about how Korona affects our daily lives. In a simplified image, the details talk to each other and form a timeline. The image combines history and momentum in a fun way.”

EXHIBITIONS 2021

8.1.–13.2.2021
Hall & Lounge: Taneli Eskola
Galleries I ja II: Martti Jämsä
Gallery III: Historical Mikkeli Collection

18.2.–8.5.2021

Hall & Lounge: Pave Maijanen
Galleries I–III: Pave Maijanen Memorial Exhibition

10.6.–7.8.2021
Lake Saimaa in My Heart
Summer exhibition, all galleries, production by the Mikkeli Centre of Photography

26.8.–25.9.2021
Hall & Lounge: The Laboratory of Portraiture: Eriksson, Pimenoff, Romppanen, Saksa, Vera
Gallery I: Heidi Kirjavainen
Gallery II: Simo Ripatti
Gallery III: Lake Saimaa in My Heart Collection

30.9.–5.11.2021
Hall: Heli Kaskinen
Galleries I & II: Jenni Haili
Gallery III: Lake Saimaa in My Heart Collection

11.11.–11.12.2021
Sali: Niina Vehmaa
Galleriat I & II: Henrik Duncker
Galleria III: Lake Saimaa in My Heart Collection

SOME PREVIOUS EXHIBITIONS IN 2021

Niina Vehmaa: Brats (Silkohapset), 2017

BRATS
Niina Vehmaa

Brats (Silkohapset) is a long term documentary project of children in the suburbs of Vaajakoski. I’m photographing them so that they have a memory of themselves when they reach adulthood.

The themes of this exhibition are childhood surroundings and its influence on adulthood as well as children’s surprising ability to use imagination in their play.

These pictures reflect my childhood experiences and the way I experienced the world back then and still do. This project is fully completed when the children in the pictures have grown up, and I can hand them a book about this project

Niina Vehmaa (born 1983, Jyväskylä) is a photographic artist based in Vaajakoski. She also creates animation, digital art as well as designs for clothing from her works of photography. Her work has been exhibited in group and private exhibitions in Finland and abroad. The intense and rebellious way to take photographs, experience and express issues is repeated through out Niina’s work.

Henrik Duncker: Finland by Change (Suomea sattumoisin), Point 091, Mikkeli airport, 2021

FINLAND BY CHANCE
Henrik Duncker

Henrik Duncker's series Finland by Chance (Suomea sattumoisin) is based on a random algorithm which calculated geographical coordinates for 100 spots around Finland. At first glance Duncker's pictures may appear dry and deadpan, but the multi-layered character of them is seeping sharp observations balanced with humour and irony. The project consists of meticulous compositions in documentary style, in which the chaotic too is beautiful. How Finland really looks today? Is this a proposal for new national landscapes?

Henrik Duncker (b. 1963, Helsinki) is a Helsinki-based photographer who graduated from The University of Arts and Design, Helsinki, in 1993. His works have been shown in numerous solo and group shows in Finland and abroad. Duncker's works are for the most part documentary style observations made during long term projects.

Heli Kaskinen: Connectiing The Dots, 2021.

ONE DOT RULES THEM ALL
Heli Kaskinen

Every image may tell a story, but one rarely comes to think that there is always another story behind every story, another destiny.

One Dot Rules Them All is an ensemble of conceptual photographic works that deals with different painful points of life from a humorous perspective by combining text and found images together. The works of the exhibition are connected through different concrete as well as conceptual points such as a camera lens or a breaking point. Those different points tend to lead the viewer behind the surface of the image towards private experiences, thoughts, and feelings and they also talk about a slightly different story than the story that we may see at first glance. These unfolding thoughts, emotions and stories are both fictional and true.

Heli Kaskinen (b. 1981, Järvenpää) is a visual artist who mainly works with humorous and conceptual photography. In her work Kaskinen combines text, found photographs and objects in a playful and insightful manner. Her works draw on self-reflection and deal with the shadows of life with a unique and recognizable touch. Kaskinen received her MFA Degree from the Academy of Fine Arts of the University of The Arts Helsinki in 2017. At the moment Kaskinen is finalizing her MA Degree in Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture in Espoo, Finland. During the last couple of years her works have been shown in solo and group exhibitions.

Jenni Haili: Pyramís #2.

SONGS OF WIT AND WISDOM
Jenni Haili

Songs of Wit and Wisdom draws its subject matter from the nature mythologies of different peoples. The underworld has its own topography, the gods live in the mountains, the elves in the forest or in the waters. In fact, all the major mythical events and actors are localized in nature. The series consists of tintypes that have been made using the historical wet plate collodion process prevalent in the late 19th century.

Jenni Haili (b. 1980, Helsinki) is a visual artist who graduated from the Aalto University School of Art and Design's degree program in photographic art. She works with many techniques, often basing her work on photography. In recent years, her area of interest has been the first steps of photography through aesthetics, subjects and methods. Haili’s works have been seen in several solo and group exhibitions both in Finland and abroad. Aside being an artist she works as part time teacher in photography in the Art University Helsinki’s Academy of Fine Arts.

Veikko Salmela: Children have hitchhiked the the log ferry. Annilanselkä, Mikkeli, c. 1960.

LAKE SAIMAA IN MY HEART
Photos from the Centre's Collection

This exhibition is a compilation of the Centre's summer 2021 exhibition Lake Saimaa in My Heart, which was assembled from the centre's collections. It contains pictures by photographers from South Savo taken over a time period of one hundred years. The exhibition focuses on pictures taken in the lake areas of Mikkeli, Ristiina, Anttola and Puumala.

The exhibition provides a view of a nostalgic, eternal summer in Lake Saimaa.

Most of the old photographs in the exhibition were edited and printed using contemporary technology at the Mikkeli Centre of Photography by Olli Jaatinen and Mikko Mäkeläinen.

Erkki Kakkonen (1925–2014) started as a photographer in Mikkelin Sanomat in the early 1950s. Kakkonen became the editor-in-chief of newspaper Länsi-Savo in 1976. In the exhibition, Kakkonen's work Description of a Cruise was featured among other works.

Leo Montonen (1905–1968) was born in the Puumala archipelago where he lived all his life. Montonen took up photography at the age of 18 in 1923. He worked as a travelling photographer mainly in the summertime, touring the Saimaa archipelago. Montonen’s pictorial legacy consists of nearly a thousand glass negatives and prints.

Jouko Palonen (1913–2012) was a principal and a history teacher in Helsinki. Photography was one of his many hobbies. The exhibition featured Jouko Palonen's 8mm cine film from Anttola in the 1960s, where Palonen's family had a summer place on the shores of Sappulanselkä.

Veikko Salmela (1930–2016) was a stonemason and photographer from Mikkeli. Salmela was a paddler at the national level and a hiker as well. These hobbies were reflected in his pictures.

Lahja Sihvonen (1892–1967), and later his son Kalervo Sihvonen (1918–1973), had a photo studio in Puumala since the 1920s. Lahja focused on studio photography, Kalervo also photographed everyday situations and leisure activities.

Vilma Pimenoff: Portrait with Blue Eyes, 2019.

THE LABORATORY OF PORTRAITURE
Eriksson, Pimenoff, Romppanen, Saksa, Vera

Portraiture expresses the likeness of particular individual, but does a portrait have to be a conventional copy or duplication of its subject? How can we combine both traditional representation and abstract elements together, and still achieve the essence of portrait? The Laboratory of Portraiture exhibition study the anatomy of a portrait and it explores different approaches to likeness and visual boundaries.


The philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer states that a portrait is not just an image nor a copy of reality – a portrait is a memory and manifestation of the person it represents. Ideas of the portrait can also be found in graphic representations and symbols such as family coats of arms. In portraiture imitation of reality (mimesis) and representation are strongly connected to the continuum of Western culture. Identities, ideologies, and various historical conventions of representation shape our perception of portrait. Portraiture is a unique art category and portraits creates constant tension. Well-known portraits have even been destroyed because they have represented their subjects in an unfavorable context.

Lauri Eriksson (b. 1965, Helsinki)) works with portraits, landscapes and archival objects. The fragility of modern life and the tradition of art history serve as the inspiration for his projects. His work has been published in national and international magazines and exhibited in art galleries and museums at home and abroad. Eriksson has published photography books, including Suomi Pictures, Bitter & Sweet and a nonfiction book Hirvenvasa ja kerjäläinen about ancient artifacts. Lauri Eriksson holds a master's degree (Master of Arts) in Cultural Heritage Studies, Art History, from University of Helsinki. Lauri Eriksson is currently studying in the Doctoral Programme in History and Cultural Heritage, University of Helsinki. In autumn 2021, Parvs Publishing Company will publish Eriksson's photography book Sumunhimmeä maisema – Polaroideja lähiluonnosta. http://www.erikssonpictures.com

Vilma Pimenoff (b. 1980, Sastamala) often works with everyday objects and imagery from popular culture and uses them as material to study different cultural conventions, their meaning, and the way the meaning is formed. Her artworks deal with how we understand the world around us through signs and symbols. By placing an object out of its assumed context, or altering its size, it can perhaps be seen in a new way. When presenting the familiar in an unexpected way, she questions the myths and stereotypes that the existing popular imagery represents and fortifies. Vilma Pimenoff’s works have been shown at the Photographers’ Gallery in London, Moscow Multimedia Art Museum, Circulation(s) photography festival in Paris, Istanbul Billboard 2020, as well as in galleries in Europe. She has received the Edit- editorial photographer of the year –prize for her work for the Finnish Image –magazine. Vilma Pimenoff holds a master’s degree in photography (LCC, University of the Arts London), and she lives and works currently in Helsinki. http://www.vilmapimenoff.com

Johannes Romppanen (b. 1982, Helsinki) is a photographer living in Espoo. He is interested in humanity and its complex nature. Romppanen has made a photobook about the life with his daughter, Lilja. She has severe cerebral palsy and the family spent a lot of time in the hospitals during her first years. The book received the Finnish Photobook of the Year 2019 award. http://www.johannesromppanen.com

Perttu Saksa (b. 1977, Jyväskylä) is Finnish contemporary artist. He has graduated (MFA) in fine arts from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts and photography (BA) from the Lahti University of Applied Science and studied art in Icelandic Academy of Arts 1999. Perttu’s photography and video works have been exhibited in various galleries and museums around Europe, including Stadtgalerie Kiel, Felleshus Berlin and Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki City Art Museum and Kiasma – Contemporary Art Museum of Finland. His works can also be found in various public collections. In 2014 he won The Fotofinlandia Prize, in 2017 he was a nominee for Ars Fennica Prize and in 2018 he was granted The Pro Finlandia Medal. Currently he is working with his second monograph Dark Atlas, to be published by Kehrer Verlag later this year. Beside artistic work Saksa is known for his portraiture. He's commissioned work has been awarded various times, including Grafia, New York Festivals and Edit competition awards. Perttu Saksa lives and works in Raasepori, Finland. http://www.perttusaksa.com

Nita Vera (b. 1986, Helsinki) is a visual artist of Chilean and Finnish descent, combining photography, text, cinematography, installation and book formats in her work. Her subject matter deals with questions around the human condition and relationships. Her work has been shown in solo exhibitions at the Finnish Museum of Photography, Art Center Mältinranta and the photography festival Encontros da Imagem in Braga, Portugal as well as in group exhibitions in Fotografisk Center in Copenhagen, Kunshalle in Helsinki, Kalmar Konstmuseum, Oslo Kunstforening, Benaki Museum in Athens among others. Her first book What Love Weighs was published in 2015. In 2016 her artist’s book Spatial Practices was nominated for the Nordic Dummy Award and Unseen Dummy Award. She has graduated from the Aalto University, School of Art, Design and Architecture. http://www.nitavera.net

Heidi Kirjavainen: The Hair Washed by the Rainwater (detail), 2019.

THE HAIR WASHED BY THE RAINWATER
Heidi Kirjavainen

The Hair Washed by the Rainwater is a formalistic study of a landscape. The simple and minimal photographs of the water, the trees, and the stones can be seen as a reconstruction of a picturesque lake landscape. Beneath the surface of the geometrical beauty, it also raises questions about how the nature around us is harnessed for economical purposes. Where do we draw the line between natural and artificial? What is real nature?

Heidi Kirjavainen (1991, Kuopio) is a visual artist and photographer who lives and works between Finland and Belgium. She holds a master's degree in photography from Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp in Belgium and a bachelor's degree in visual arts from Saimaa University of Applied Sciences in Finland. No format or space is a limitation for Heidi's expression as she pushes the boundaries of photographic practices by combining techniques of staged photography, environmental, and installation art. Often the work of art is a photograph of an installation made in the environment but a printed photograph can also take over the space in the final presentation.

Simo Ripatti: Remembrance, 2019.

REMEMBRANCE
Simo Ripatti

Remembrance is a rendition of the classification that we use to perceive the world and to create various groupings and structures. It does not aim to define the concept of classification or even its necessity. Rather, it serves as a basis for examing questions of this nature.

Simo Ripatti (b. 1975, Mikkeli) is a visual artist MA. In Ripatti’s production, the impact of the works is often based on subtlety and surprise. An active element in the works is the use of space. http://simoripatti.com

Leo Montonen: Siiskonlahti, Puumala, 1925 or 1926.

LAKE SAIMAA IN MY HEART
Images from the Centre's Collection

This exhibition is a compilation of the Centre's summer 2021 exhibition Lake Saimaa in My Heart, which was assembled from the centre's collections. It contains pictures by photographers from South Savo taken over a time period of one hundred years. The exhibition focuses on pictures taken in the lake areas of Mikkeli, Ristiina, Anttola and Puumala.

The exhibition provides a view of a nostalgic, eternal summer in Lake Saimaa.

Most of the old photographs in the exhibition were edited and printed using contemporary technology at the Mikkeli Centre of Photography by Olli Jaatinen and Mikko Mäkeläinen.

Erkki Kakkonen (1925–2014) started as a photographer in Mikkelin Sanomat in the early 1950s. Kakkonen became the editor-in-chief of newspaper Länsi-Savo in 1976. In the exhibition, Kakkonen's work Description of a Cruise was featured among other works.

Leo Montonen (1905–1968) was born in the Puumala archipelago where he lived all his life. Montonen took up photography at the age of 18 in 1923. He worked as a travelling photographer mainly in the summertime, touring the Saimaa archipelago. Montonen’s pictorial legacy consists of nearly a thousand glass negatives and prints.

Jouko Palonen (1913–2012) was a principal and a history teacher in Helsinki. Photography was one of his many hobbies. The exhibition featured Jouko Palonen's 8mm cine film from Anttola in the 1960s, where Palonen's family had a summer place on the shores of Sappulanselkä.

Veikko Salmela (1930–2016) was a stonemason and photographer from Mikkeli. Salmela was a paddler at the national level and a hiker as well. These hobbies were reflected in his pictures.

Lahja Sihvonen (1892–1967), and later his son Kalervo Sihvonen (1918–1973), had a photo studio in Puumala since the 1920s. Lahja focused on studio photography, Kalervo also photographed everyday situations and leisure activities.

Visits

Mikkeli Centre of Photography
Puistokatu 3
50100 Mikkeli, Finland
Tel. +358 45 1494866
info [at] mikkelinvalokuvakeskus.fi

Open

Wednesday–Friday 11.00–17.00
Saturday 11.00–15.00
Sunday–Tuesday closed
Closed on Midsummer week Fri–Sat 24–25 June

The centre is fully accessible by wheelchair.

Entry fee

Free admission in autumn 2022.

Safety for the visit

Due to the prevailing Covid-19 situation in Finland, hand sanitizer is available for the visitors and the staff takes care of the safety measures and distances.

Photo: Kalervo Sihvonen, c. 1960.

Previous Summer Exhibition 2021

Lake Saimaa in My Heart 10.6.–7.8.2021

Mikkeli Centre of Photography's summer exhibition Lake Saimaa in My Heart was assembled from the centre's collections, which contain many pictures by photographers from South Savo taken over a time period of one hundred years. The exhibition focused on pictures taken in the lake areas of Mikkeli, Ristiina, Anttola and Puumala.

The exhibition provided a view of a nostalgic, eternal summer in Lake Saimaa. The exhibition included works by six photographers and one 8mm movie maker. The body of the exhibition consisted of pictures from the 1950s and 1960s by the Studio Sihvonen, which was located in Puumala.

Most of the old photographs in the exhibition were edited and printed using contemporary technology at the Mikkeli Centre of Photography by Olli Jaatinen and Mikko Mäkeläinen.

Erkki Kakkonen (1925–2014) started as a photographer in Mikkelin Sanomat in the early 1950s. Kakkonen became the editor-in-chief of newspaper Länsi-Savo in 1976. In the exhibition, Kakkonen's work Description of a Cruise was featured among other works.

Leo Montonen (1905–1968) was born in the Puumala archipelago where he lived all his life. Montonen took up photography at the age of 18 in 1923. He worked as a travelling photographer mainly in the summertime, touring the Saimaa archipelago. Montonen’s pictorial legacy consists of nearly a thousand glass negatives and prints.

Jouko Palonen (1913–2012) was a principal and a history teacher in Helsinki. Photography was one of his many hobbies. The exhibition featured Jouko Palonen's 8mm cine film from Anttola in the 1960s, where Palonen's family had a summer place on the shores of Sappulanselkä.

Veikko Salmela (1930–2016) was a stonemason and photographer from Mikkeli. Salmela was a paddler at the national level and a hiker as well. These hobbies were reflected in his pictures.

Lahja Sihvonen (1892–1967), and later his son Kalervo Sihvonen (1918–1973), had a photo studio in Puumala since the 1920s. Lahja focused on studio photography, Kalervo also photographed everyday situations and leisure activities.

Juha "Norppa" Taskinen (b. 1958, Sääminki) is a documentary filmmaker, nature photographer and author. In his work, he has especially focused on the Saimaa ringed seal and the nature of the Lake Saimaa.


Previous Exhibitions 18.2.–8.5.2021

MAIN HALL
Pave Maijanen: Picture & Light

GALLERIES I–III
Pave Maijanen Memorial Exhibition

Pave Maijanen: Silhouettes, 2018.

In the autumn of 2020, Pave Maijanen wrote the foreword to his exhibition:

“My exhibition contains pictures e.g. from the dunes of the southern tip of Gran Canaria, where the wind makes the sand ripple like water. There are also pictures from the flea markets on that island, a few pictures are of my grandchildren and the rest are without a special theme.

In the summer of 2020, I held the first photo exhibition of my life in Kesälahti, curated by photographic artist Stefan Bremer. He has been a great help in these projects. Steffe has made all the prints and he was with me choosing the pictures to display.

The title of the exhibition Picture and Light comes from the fact that I never use flash light, but natural light is something that is interesting to play with.”

Pekka Juhani “Pave” Maijanen (1950–2021) is known for his extensive career as a musician. During his career, he worked as a singer, songwriter, bassist, drummer, keyboardist, guitarist and producer. Less well known is his work as a photographer. Organizing his own photo exhibition was one of his last wishes.

Pave Maijanen's photo exhibition was complemented by a memorial exhibition, compiled by the Mikkeli Centre of Photography and Pave Maijanen's estate.

Previous Exhibitions 8.1.–13.2.2021

Taneli Eskola
Martti Jämsä
Erkki Kakkonen

Taneli Eskola: Puddle Jump, Tallinn, 1981.

Taneli Eskola
Puddle Jump and Other Photos


Photographic artist Taneli Eskola is especially known as a photographer of the landscape and inhabited milieu. The exhibition at the Mikkeli Centre of Photography featured black and white street photos from 1974–2019. The emphasis was on the everyday environment, cities and social relations.

Eskola's work emphasizes commitment to time and place, as well as a sense of space. There are humanly touching moments in the pictures, now lost neighborhoods, street views and lighting from different countries.

Taneli Eskola (b. 1958, Hämeenlinna) began taking photographs in the early 1970s. He defended his doctoral dissertation at the University of Art and Design in 1998 and has been a docent at Aalto University since 2010. Eskola has held numerous exhibitions since 1979 and his works are in key Finnish collections. Eskola's latest retrospective was seen at the Finnish Museum of Photography in 2016.


Martti Jämsä: Liquid Photography -series, 2019.


Martti Jämsä
Liquid Photography


I pour developer, stop bath and fixer in to the trays. I turn on the red safelight.

On the shelves I have old photo papers; some I have bought, some are gifts. Already the names on the boxes excite my imagination: Agfa Lupex, Tura Portrait-Rapid, Forte Bromofort.

I open one box, touch the paper, and feel the rough surface of the emulsion. The paper smells old and special. I turn on the ceiling light, turn the paper toward the lamp, and let it get exposed. By giving extra light, I can get more black, and the paper won’t just stay gray.

I turn off the ceiling light. The darkness turns red again; it is calm and quiet.

I press the corner of the photo paper into the liquid in the developing tray. Gradually, the paper slides to the bottom of the tray. I move it and turn at times with an atul. Suddenly, changes begin to occur in the paper. More than 50 years old photo paper is gaining new life. I think the picture is ready now.

Martti Jämsä (b. 1959, Jokioinen) is a self-taught photographer. He is an “old-time craftsman” who enjoys working in his own darkroom, making his black-and-white photographs himself. Jämsä has made 15 photobooks and 14 portfolios. He has held exhibitions since 1982 both at home and abroad. Jämsä's photographs are in several collections.

Erkki Kakkonen: Maaherrankatu 7, Mikkeli, 1950s.

Erkki Kakkonen
Cityscapes from Mikkeli


The Mikkeli Centre of Photography’s Historical Mikkeli Collection mainly consists of pictures by photographers from Mikkeli. The purpose of the centre's collection work is to highlight our common cultural heritage expressed through photographs.

The Historical Mikkeli Collections include also pictures by Erkki Kakkonen (1925–2014). The newspaper Länsi-Savo's long-time photographer, reporter and editor-in-chief Kakkonen started as a photographer in Mikkelin Sanomat in the early 1950s. Kakkonen became the editor-in-chief of Länsi-Savo in 1976, when photography was left to other employees.

Kakkonen's negatives were scanned and printed at the Centre in the autumn of 2020 by artesan Mikko Mäkeläinen. The collection exhibition presented Kakkonen's cityscapes from the old centre of Mikkeli. The Mikkeli Centre of Photography has received Erkki Kakkonen's photographs in its collections as a donation from Kakkonen’s daughters.