I started photographing seriously after I got retired and wanted to try something creative. I had tried darkroom with black and white prints ages ago, but mainly my photography was just snapshots before that.
Photography has proved to be a good hobby and gives some meaningful doing, which is not always obvious after you have retired from your daily work. As a photographer I’m self-taught. I have read countless of magazines, books and internet articles. But I think I have learnt most from watching other photographs and other art. Seeing the amazing work that others have made is something that also pushes me forward to make my own work. You might think that reason for the surreal and especially dark themes comes from my health, but I have always liked horror, scifi, fantasy art and movies that are a bit from the dark side. Also my taste in music is heavy metal. I don’t have much interest to reality/documentary in my photographs and with tools that we now have for implementing surreal and dark photos the job is much easier. This is also where the digital truly helps. For those that say this is not true photography I say “I don’t take photographs, I make images.”
I have always liked visual art, but I’m not very good at drawing/painting and I don’t think my patience would be good enough to make larger oil paintings. My education is computer engineer so digital photography feels much more natural to me than film. Digital camera and image editing seems pretty perfect combination for me to express myself artistically. Projects are manageable in size and end results are something that I can say I like even myself which cannot be said from my drawings. [Official Website]
At the beginning I mainly photographed non-human subjects. I have always been a shy person so when I wanted to take my first portraits the easiest choice was take self portraits. I’m not good with authorities, but I don’t want to be one myself either. So I don’t feel very comfortable at guiding people, but when taking self portraits model knows instantly what photographer means. Model also has patient to test setups and try new things as much as a photographer and even the wildest ideas are possible.
Although it’s sometimes nice to get some good landscape shots or some metal photography, most of my photography is now days from my sketch book and is human related. I don’t think my photographs so much as self portraits. It’s just a model that I’m most comfortable using and is always available. I don’t do much basic portraits and I always try to find some theme or so. I get my ideas from everywhere. From other photographs, visual arts, television and movies. I follow lots of blogs and sites in the internet. Usually my photographs are an idea or combination of ideas taken to my own direction for example in darker or surreal mood. Sometimes I don’t know even myself where the idea came from and it’s probably a product of some inner brain activity.
I do some commissioned work, but I try to avoid basic portraits there also. I don’t get much kicks for just taking a basic headshot.
I won photographer of the year award (2013) in a local camera club (http://kuopionkameraseura.org). As a result I got my first photo exhibition and it was one milestone that was I was happy to achieve. All in all the year 2013 was pretty successful and I won several awards in international competitions, too (http://torturedmind.org/category/awards/). I try to be pretty open with my photographs and techniques that I have used and continuosly publish lighting diagrams, before and after shots, etc in my blog at http://torturedmind.org.
I got my second self-published book ready this year. For the “Darkest Days” my friend made the text and I made the images. It’s a short story about what people might feel at their darkest days. That book has strong personal feelings in it and was a cleansing experience to make. As a photographer I would like to raise people’s awareness of mental illnesses. It would be great if people could discuss it more freely like from any other sickness and that the shame that goes with it would be even a little bit smaller. You might never get completely healthy, but there certainly is life after getting sick and photography is one way to keep you on the right track.