Amsterdam-based photographer speaks to us about the latent Finnish influences on his photography and his latest projects
Amsterdam-based photographer, Jussi Puikkonen has dabbled in both commercial and editorial photography but it’s his personal work that we’ve become admirers of. In a lot of his work, Puikkonen doesn’t like to ‘set up’ the image but rather aims to capture naturally occurring moments and places in their innate state. As a result what’s achieved are photos that have a sense of narrative to them, leaving the viewer asking questions.
Also a feeling of intimacy is present as though Puikkonen is giving us a glimpse into his world, which is further emphasized by Puikkonen himself stating that his rural upbringing in Jokioinen, Finland still manages to infiltrate his work. Dazed Digital speaks to Puikkonen about why he got into photography in the first place and whether he has any plans to follow up his first book of photography "On Vacation" (2008).
Dazed Digital: What inspired you to start taking photographs?
Jussi Puikkonen: It seems that I was quite mediocre in everything what I did when I was younger. But communicating with images was something that slowly developed as passion. I've never had much of patience. So photography was a perfect medium for me. I could see the results relatively quick. So I never got frustrated in the process. I took me a while that I learned to photograph things that really interested me. That was the point it developed as passion.
DD: What projects are you currently working on?
Jussi Puikkonen:I've got couple personal projects going on aside from the commercial ones. Other one i've been working on for years already. It is about hotel art. So I've documenting the art pieces in every single hotel room I've been for the last six years. That project is close to the end of it. Traveling is my other passion and I love hotels. So it has been quite a natural project for me.
DD: Any plans to follow up your first book, "On Vacation" anytime soon?
Jussi Puikkonen:This is actually the other personal project that I've been working on. Couple Finish foundations were kind enough to support me with grands. It is slightly the same theme as "On Vacation" Just this time it surrounded around carnival landscape. Working title is "After Party" So basically I'm investigating how does the carnival alternate the landscape. The approach is close to what it was in "On Vacation" but this time I'm going to include some portraits of people to give rhythm for the book and to give insight to the actual carnival.
DD: You've worked in both the art and commercial photography worlds, how do you adapt creatively between the two?
Jussi Puikkonen: It is just a totally different mind set. I've never had problems working on commissioned. In commercial world you just need make compromises. I've just been lucky enough to work with lot of projects where I have the creative freedom. But that's not always the case, but those projects usually don't end up in my portfolio...
DD: If you could photograph anyone or thing in the world, who or what would it be?
Jussi Puikkonen: I don't fancy photographing anybody especially. Because I never know in advance which shoot is going to be good. That is basically what matters. There is this crazy dessert festival called Burning Man in US that would fit perfectly to my "After Party" project. Just didn't have enough budget to go there.
DD: Which photographers have influenced or inspired you the most and why?
Jussi Puikkonen: Joel Strenfeld and Alec Soth to mention couple. They have ability as photographers to say a lot with their images without doing any special. These photographers can have just an image with where the photographers is completely neutral element. But still there are such big emotional content that not many others can achieve.