This artist came to my attention via a random link on the OCA Photography Students Facebook page.Somebody had asked the question ‘does a portrait need to show a face’ and as Minkkinen’s self portraits very rarely show his face (every other part of his naked body feature in his work) his work was put forward as an example to add to the debate.
I looked at the 40 years of self portraits on his website and and was impressed by the sheer ingenuity of his work, the difficulties he has overcome, the danger he has put himself into and the simplicity of his ideas. Put simply, he inserts himself into the landscape, contorting his body into lines that follow its contours, burying himself in snow, submerging himself in water and all the while using the camera single handed with no assistant. There is no layering of negatives, double exposure, Photoshop or fakery involved.
How he made this work is here: http://www.arno-rafael-minkkinen.com/intro.html.
His ten portfolios start here: http://www.arno-rafael-minkkinen.com/hands_and_feet.html
Minkkinen is also known for the Helsinki Bus Station Theory an explanation of which can be found in this article here:
I’ve summarised it for myself in the hope that I will find my ‘voice’ eventually. “Be true to yourself, make the work that inspires you and when you think it is becoming derivative, don’t go back to the bus station and start your journey again stay on the f’king bus!”
I hope this holds true. Learning about Art is a journey, what we pick up along the way helps our work to grow, mature and eventually enables us to create something that is unique…..