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.


Vesa Aaltonen: Naava, 2023

Vesa Aaltonen


Forest Laboratory is a many-sided artistic documentary project by the fine art photographer Vesa Aaltonen from Turku. The experimental and imaginary work deals with forest’s birth, life and future. The project also deals with the changing relationship between nature and human. It examines the forest’s influence on human beings as well as people’s position and options in the middle of the climate crisis.

Photo artist Vesa Aaltonen has been working on the project since 2016. The nature of his work took a more experimental turn when during a distribution of inheritance Aaltonen bought two hectares of forest that used to belong to his grandfather.

The forest property has seen an imaginary burn-clearing and site-specific experimental works have been realised there. A forest path has been created by repeatedly walking along the property line. The work on the project continues and will find new forms in the future.

The exhibition in Mikkeli consists of small installations, traditional large photographic art prints and an image wall documenting the project. The exhibition includes previously unpublished works where Aaltonen has, for example, utilized resin collected from the forest and melted it in order to create new shapes and forms.

Vesa Aaltonen (b. 1965, Pomarkku) is a photographer and photo artist from Turku. He graduated from the Turku School of Art and Communication in 1995 and worked extensively in the field of photography. Aaltonen has also worked as a photography teacher at the Turku Art Academy in 1997–2005. He has been implementing various community photography projects, participated in several group exhibitions and held solo exhibitions in both Finland and Sweden since 1997.

"A wounded Russian soldier in the village of Omelia. 1941.07.25." Photo: E. J. Paavilainen.

Treasures from the Finnish Wartime Photo Archive


During the Second World War (1939–1945), hundreds of artists and information professionals served in the Information Company of the Finnish army.

They went to war not only with conventional weapons, but also with pens, cameras and brushes. A "new type of weapon" was also developing in Finland from propaganda and art as part of it.

With the right kind of information, the will to fight was maintained at the front, but above all, faith was cast in the justification of one's cause at home.

The exhibition "War Hurts Everybody" presents the inhumanity of war with the touching images of IC-photographers.

The summer exhibition has been edited by adding two posters (Horses at War). The horse has played a very important role in the war. When we lived in the 1940s, it was not yet common to use the pronoun he/she for a horse. TK company photographer A. Viitasalo has written in the caption: "The name is Sonja". Today, even the zucchini in the garden is fluently called "He/She".

The exhibition's material has been compiled by the Center's board members Olli Jaatinen, Pasi Räsämäki, Heli Seppänen and Simo Väisänen. Artist photographer Olli Jaatinen has edited the material into an exhibition.

The exhibition is a tribute to all circa 50 IC-photographers who put their lives on the line in dangerous frontline conditions.

The Chernivtsi region near the Romanian border is the only Ukrainian region spared from missile strikes. Still, the war haunts here more than ever. The body of Volodymyr Hadza, who fell in the war, has been brought back to the home front. His fiancee, Myroslava Boiko (center), had trouble standing in the funeral procession. Photo: Rio Gandara/HS.

Three Photojournalists of Newspaper Helsingin Sanomat in Ukraine


In 2022, the Mikkeli Photo Center put together the exhibition PHOTOJOURNALISM NOW!, which featured six photographers.

The Centre has made a Ukraine update of the exhibition, which includes Rio Gandara and Juhani Niiranen from last year. In addition to their new photos, the center presents Sami Kero's photo series, in which a Ukrainian soldier who stepped on a mine is operated on in the emergency clinic and his recovery is followed at home.

Selections from nurse Veera Pekkanen's Photo Collection


Mikkeli County Hospital operated as Military Hospital no. 17 during the winter and continuation wars. Those wounded at the front were transferred to inland hospitals through mass detention centers, where most of the treatments were carried out.

Veera Pekkanen (born Fagerström, 1912–2004) worked as a nurse at the Military Hospital No. 17. She collected photos of the hospital's activities, which his son Timo Pekkanen donated to the Mikkeli Photo Center. There is no certain information about the people who took the photos.

In the photos from Veera Pekkanen's collection, wounded convalescents receive daily care in the hospital's premises. Sometimes they have been taken on a nature trip. The collection also contains pictures of the damage to the county hospital: for example, the operating room had been completely hit.

Pekkanen's photo collection has been edited for the exhibition by photo artist Olli Jaatinen.

as Depicted by Miller Siblings


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.


Annimari Taivalsaari

A Place for the Immortals

Annimari Taivalsaari

The subject of my pictures is often a mythical or romantic landscape. I have been working on my current series of works since 2015 and it was exhibited for the first time in Galerie Pleiku, Berlin 2016 under the name On the Way to Magic Land. The largest collection has been exhibited in the Galleria Vanha Kappalaisentalo in Porvoo in the fall of 2019. The starting point for the series of works has been my own hiking trips over several years. Along the way, the series has been supplemented with new works and received new emphasis.

In the landscape I travel to myself, conveying my own experience of nature and my mental landscape. Temporality is present in the constant change and layered dimension of the landscape. Behind visible reality hides a mysterious and enigmatic world, revealing itself only in glimpses. The landscape condenses the feeling of longing and longing in the face of all transience, but on the other hand, also the expectation of the birth and meeting of the new. Time levels and places mix, cutting the border between dream and reality, past and present: the visible and the invisible meet and the landscapes form timeless, universal worlds. In terms of aesthetics, my works have been inspired by the landscape tradition of East Asia as well as the painting art/symbolism of the Romantic period.

Annimari Taivalsaari (b. 1967, Helsinki) is a photo artist from Helsinki, who graduated as a visual artist from the Artschool of Imatra in 1998 and later completed her studies as a visual artist at the Lahti Institute of Design and Art. Although the starting point of Taivalsaari's works is photography, she often describes subjects and layers images so that their visual language is closer to painting than traditional photography. Taivalsaari has held numerous exhibitions since 2000, both in Finland and abroad.

Pentti Sammallahti
Cilento, Italia, 1999

Pentti Sammallahti

The Mikkeli Centre of Photography has a fine series of Pentti Sammallahti's works in its collections. The pictures on display now take us to Italy, Morocco and Nepal.

Pentti Sammallahti (b. 1950, Helsinki) started his career as a photographer in the early 60s. He is one of the first Finnish photographers who has made his life's work as a artist photographer. The author, who appreciates craftsmanship, is also known for his skilful enlarging of photos and high-quality printing of images. In addition to photographs, he has made themed books and photo portfolios.

Luca Tanriverdi, Kauri Tuononen, Ville Maanselkä and Arttu Laine turned one of the gallery rooms into a camera obscura, i.e. a dark room.

Youth Media Camp Exhibition

The Mikkeli Centre of Photography has organized training since its establishment, i.e. since 1988. In the 2010s, the focus has been on youth education without basic education requirements.

At the beginning of the camp, a camera obscura, i.e. a dark room, was built from one of the gallery rooms. A small hole was made in the aluminum foil covering the windows. An image of the opposite view was reflected through it. The destination was the shelters of the Urheilupuisto school, i.e. the barracks school.

[The camera obscura principle may have been used already in the Stone Age. This is evidenced by cave paintings, where the distortions of animal shapes seem to be caused by the fact that the surface onto which the image was obliquely reflected was not straight.]

The young people moved from the dark room to the operation of a digital SLR camera: camera body caps with a pinhole were installed on a few cameras. The Stone Age and modern times met.

Next, we got to know studio photography and realized together portraits and experimental movement sequences using, for example, a lightsaber.

We were introduced to image processing, exhibition planning and proofing. The end result is a group exhibition, which is open during the center's opening hours until the beginning of April.

The target group of the camp was young people born between 2007 and 2012, and the camp location was the Mikkeli Centre of Photography.

The teachers of the camp were: photographer, photography lecturer Pasi Räsämäki and MA, artist photographer Olli Savio.

Media training for young people is supported by the Regional Administration Office of Eastern Finland, Education and Culture.


Hall and Lobby Gallery: Pasi Räsämäki: Urbaario – A Collection of Urban Finds
Gallery I: Pentti Sammallahti: Photos from the Centre's Collections
Gallery III: The Life in Inkilänhovi in the Early 20th Century as Depicted by Miller Siblings23.2.–1.4.2023

Hall: Verna Kovanen
Lobby Gallery: Alexandra Trufanova
Gallery I: Pentti Sammallahti: Photos from the Centre's Collections
Gallery III: The Life in Inkilänhovi in the Early 20th Century as Depicted by Miller Siblings

Gallery II: From Primitive to Digital – Youth Media Camp Exhibition

Hall and Lobby Gallery: Annimari Taivalsaari
Gallery I: Pentti Sammallahti: Photos from the Centre's Collections
Gallery II: From Primitive to Digital – Youth Media Camp Exhibition
Gallery III: The Life in Inkilänhovi in the Early 20th Century as Depicted by Miller Siblings

Hall and Lobby Gallery: War Hurts Everybody - Treasures from the Finnish Wartime Photo Archive*
Gallery I: Military Hospital no. 17 in Mikkeli (Images from the Nurse Veera Pekkanen's Collections)*
Gallery II: Photojournalism NOW! 2.0 – Ukraine update*
Gallery III: The Life in Inkilänhovi in the Early 20th Century as Depicted by Miller Siblings (updated)*

Hall and Lobby Gallery: Vesa Aaltonen*
Gallery I: War Hurts Everybody - Treasures from the Finnish Wartime Photo Archive – Horses at War*
Gallery I: Military Hospital no. 17 in Mikkeli (Images from the Nurse Veera Pekkanen's Collections)*
Gallery II: Photojournalism NOW! 2.0 – Ukraine update – Three Photojournalists of Newspaper Helsingin Sanomat in Ukraine
Gallery III: The Life in Inkilänhovi in the Early 20th Century as Depicted by Miller Siblings (updated)

Hall: Päivi Tuovinen
Lobby Gallery: Risto Vuorimies
Galleries I–II: t.b.a.
Gallery III: Historical Collections

Hall and Lobby Gallery: Bright Galleries – Joint Christmas Exhibition of the Centre's Members
Gallery III: Historical Collections

* These are our exhibitions No. 295–296

Verna Kovanen
Stop, 2020

Verna Kovanen

Broken Holiday Album is a photographer Verna Kovanen´s journey to the places which once were locations of happy family vacations of her childhood.

At the same time, holiday destinations seem to be places that rely heavily on personal memories and, on the other hand, symbolize a familiar and very much-copied concept made for the mass tourism industry.

Resorts are places, where nostalgia, global political crises, and the escapist needs of the traveler mix. In addition to holiday destinations, Broken Holiday Album series tells about us as travelers and tourists, and about time passing and the constant change whether we like it or not.

Verna Kovanen (b. 1989, Helsinki) is a visual artist and photographer based in Helsinki, Finland. She holds a Master´s degree in Visual Culture, Contemporary Art and Curating and Bachelor´s degree in Photography. Her works have been published in two photo books (Broken Holiday Album, 2022 and Invisibles, 2016) and seen in several solo and group shows around Finland and also internationally. Kovanen's partly autobiographical works deal with the themes of the power of imagination, nostalgia and memory.

Alexandra Trufanova
Equivalents (Not Clouds) XXXVII

Alexandra Trufanova

In her ongoing series Equivalents [not clouds] (2021–), Alexandra Trufanova explores the aesthetic elements of the digital photography and the power relations between the software developer and the user.

Before the image appears on the smartphone screen, it goes through many predetermined algorithms that the user cannot influence. The artist sees it as a process where control is transferred from the user to the device and finally to the software developer. Trufanova aims to regain control by modifying the output of the smartphone camera.

Equivalents (not clouds) photo series deviates from aesthetic stereotypes, reality, and literal interpretation by moving towards the abstract. The use of pixels, digital noise and strong colours challenge the boundaries between photography and digital art.

Alexandra Trufanova (b. 1987, Kaliningrad, Russia) is an artist who recently graduated from the Turku Academy of Arts. Since 2020, she has focused on topics related to digitization and digital photography.

Pasi Räsämäki
The Mask, 2019
Spangly Drawstring, 2022

Pasi Räsämäki

I got the idea of Urbaario, when I started photographing urban discoveries. When plant-related material is searched for and stored in a familiar herbarium, the urbarium collects discoveries about human habitat and interprets the information they convey about our species and lifestyle. The collector of the urbaario observes the mundane urban environment and trains the eye to notice what is buzzing in the landscape: someone has dropped a bottle cap or sunglasses, someone has forgotten their backpack, someone else their wristwatch. In describing these random discoveries, I have been pondering what they look like and where they come from. Effort has been put into developing a product and a brand – and then, once it's consumed, it becomes rubbish. Ambiguous images that play with a change of scale bring before us the roaring beauty of these forgotten objects.

Similar random beauty exists in archaeology. Hardly anyone in the past has dropped a ring on a field to leave it there on purpose. The money has been hidden for reasons other than as a sign to those who discover it in the future. Abandoned places of residence have simply been left where they are. By studying them, we modern humans can deduce a wide range of things from the lifestyles of the people of the past.

In the Urbaario – A Collection of Urban Finds exhibition, my photographs and archaeological finds engage in a dialogue about the questionable difference between rubbish and treasure. By comparing these different elements, you can also think about the wasteful human nature – throughout the ages, we also leave behind unintended signs of ourselves. The past is not only behind us, but it is also beneath us, on many floors. On top, on the surface layer, we see traces of the life of a modern, urban human.

Pasi Räsämäki (born 1966) is a Finnish Art Photographer. He studied photography in the Lahti polytechnic and has worked actively in Art Photography and as a teacher. In 2018 he participated in the exhibition on increasing inequality Does it feel familiar? – Photographs of everyday life in Finland in the Finnish Museum of Photography. Works of Räsämäki are included in the collections of the Helsinki Art Museum, the Joensuu Art Museum and Finnish Museum of Photography.


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

Hall, Lounge, Galleries I–III: Tero Puha

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

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

28.10.2022 from 17:00 to 24:00
Night of Museums:
Urban Observations on Cellphones - Youth Media Camp Exhibition
Past Mikkeli in Short Films by Olavi Puusaari and Antero Teittinen

Hall & Lounge: Marja Söderlund
Galleries I & II: Anne Kalliola – Päivi Röppänen
Gallery III: The Life in Inkilänhovi in the Early 20th Century as Depicted by Miller Siblings


*Mikkeli Centre of Photography began 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 was organized for schoolchildren with video streams from the Centre.

** T


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


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

8 € | 4 €