MARTTI JÄMSÄFour series
In his exhibition, photographer Martti Jämsä (born 1959) displays four
series of black-and-white photographs that he shot using the traditional method
of camera and film, developed and processed and finally also framed them
himself. The series seem to communicate a certain nostalgia - a homecoming,
a return to the past and to what went before - and reliving it.
The series Heart and bullet features passport photographs
that Jämsä took of his fellow students in 1977. A small brown envelope,
discovered amongst a hoard in the studio after all these years, contained a
stack of negatives that were a collection of memories of people he knew before
and flashbacks of the youth well gone. The series takes its title from a
heart and bullet pendant worn by a girl in one of the photographs. The
exhibition juxtaposes the passport photos with an image of a fellow student
standing on train tracks taken in 1982, a classic image that turns into a metaphor
You press the button, we do the rest was the slogan coined by George Eastman when he launched the Kodak
camera for the Christmas market in 1888. Jämsä's Snap shot series
was inspired by these round images
first launched in the 1800s. Anyone with no previous experience could
take pictures quickly and easily. The portable camera, the size of a cigar box,
was easy to take everywhere. Snapshots were an immediate success as people had
an urge to capture the important people, places and events in their lives. Mass
production of photos had started. The premise behind Jämsä's Snapshots series
is that anything is suitable for photography and one subject is no more
valuable than another one. It is the photographer's job to make the subject
interesting. In Jämsä's photos, subjects, places and objects seem to have
been caught in a spotlight; they are made visible.
Jämsä is remembered for his Summer series (1994-2004) that depicts summers he spent with his family. The Boys series features seven unpublished photos from the Summer series. These images show Jämsä's sons, now grown-up men, when they were young. Jämsä also exhibits some images taken this year that in a simple way depict the lakeside landscape around his summer house. All that remains is the memories.
Jämsä went to the woods near his house in Helsinki to shoot the Local forest series. The intimate images were taken in the shade of trees and along the fields, where simple, ordinary and small things appear beautiful.
The exhibition will be accompanied by the publication of Sydän ja Luoti / Heart and Bullet (Sémiosquare 2014) and Snap shot (Musta taide 4/2014) as well as the artist's book Lähimetsä (Local forest) (2014) and portfolio Pojat (Boys)(2014), which contains new images as well as the out-of-print book Kesä (Summer) (Musta taide 3/2003) and an essay by Antti Nylén.