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 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

EXHIBITIONS NOW
11.11.–11.12.2021

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.

BREVIOUS EXHIBITIONS 2021

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.

PREVIOUS EXHIBITIONS
26.8.–25.9.2021

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.

The centre is fully accessible by wheelchair.

Free entry during autumn 2021

We want to encourage people to visit art exhibitions again.
We have free entry to exhibitions during the autumn season 2021, 26.8.–31.12.2021.

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.