Elina Brotherus

Born in 1972, in Helsinki,Finland
Lives and works in Finland and France 

" I believe in experience. 
Creating images shakes me up; or, when life is 'shaky', 
I get the urge and passion to take photographs. "


" I work primarily in self-portraiture, sometimes incorporating other people who have a special meaning in my life. My work has a direct relationship to my reality. A person in the theater once told me that I was a good actress but this is not true. My whole method depends upon my being a lousy actress. It's only possible for me to photograph when something really happens, which makes the images authentic, emotionally genuine. Even though I construct images, I don't act or role-play, and in this sense my work is rooted in the documentary tradition.

I trust intuition and rapid reaction. I, too, have my 'decisive moments', but they differ from that concept as applied to classic photography. For Henri Cartier-Bresson, such a moment was a compositional thing: that fraction of a second when all the lines and elements on a two-dimensional plane meet in the most exciting way. My decisive moments have more to do with the contents of each image. They might last a couple of minutes or even a week. I would prefer, instead, to talk about decisive periods of time: 'The Decisive Day' rather than just a moment.

I do believe in the profound 'sameness' of human beings. People die and new ones are born; people fall in love and they separate. In every person's life there are both large and small tragedies, much and little happiness; there are emotions and needs. That is why fragments from my life might seem familiar to others as well. In a way I provide the viewers with a blank screen, a surface on which to project their own feelings and desires. Most often my work deals with love and its side-effects; the absence or presence of it in its different forms. "

" Photography, unlike painting, has a direct link to the reality. This is both its enchantment and its curse. People tend to treat photographs as documents: who is this person, or where is that place? I would prefer that we pay more attention, not only to the subject matter itself, but to how it is shown: what visual choices has the artist made, how has he/she solved certain problems, what is the structure of the image, the mood of it, how are the colors tuned? How does it affect us as viewers? "

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