Encounters exhibition at Arktikum’s Valo Gallery until 18.3.2023

The exhibition consists of photographic portraits made by Leinonen over the last decade including wet-plate collodion portraits, documentary portraits captured on film of horsepeople from the Äimärautio series and the most recent work Vastapuu. All three sets of works highlight in different ways the materiality of the process of making a photographic portrait.

Leinonen’s wet-plate portraits (2009-2016) make visible the process of making images, which includes both the active materiality of the photographic chemicals and the physical materiality of the actual work. These materialities become visible as traces – flaws and impurities – on the surface of the images. These traces are like a visible but silent dialogue between the resulting photographic object and the image itself. Some of the works in the exhibition are presented as original metal plates, while others have taken on new material forms as enlargements.

The documentary portraits of the Äimärautio – series (2015-2017) were created in everyday encounters in a community that Leinonen is familiar with from her childhood riding school days. The people in the portraits share a passion for horses – horses are their way of life. The milieu of Äimärautio ties the portraits to a place and creates a framework for them. These portraits emphasize the moment of capture, its at-mosphere and materiality, which create a certain feel in the images. The photobook Äimärautio was pub-lished in 2018 and was one of the finalists in the Photobook of the Year 2019 competition. Leinonen’s self-portrait on the cover of the book, entitled Aftermood, was shortlisted for the Taylor Wessing Photo-graphic Portrait Prize 2018 and was exhibited at the prestigious National Portrait Gallery in London.

Vastapuu – series (2020–2023) consists of studio photographs taken of everyday objects from Kati Lei-nonen’s father in-law’s farmhouse and surroundings, alongside landscape photographs and excerpts from a family album. In the images, Leinonen delineates a portrait of Heikki and Sylvi, the founders of a farm called Vastapuu, and reflects upon the personal nature of memory and the relationship with the farm’s history.

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