The lights and shadows of black and white imagery have always been a hallmark of the work of photography artist Martti Jämsä (b. 1959). Jämsä has earned particular acclaim for the fine images depicting his own family on summer holiday, which earned him a place in the Fotofinlandia finals in 2004. The pictures have also been published as the book Summertime (Musta Taide 3/2003).
Jämsä also highlights craftsmanship in his work, as he prefers to do everything himself, from beginning to end, and thus have a maximal impact on the end result, including colour reproduction, coating materials and surface textures. In this era of large-scale digital prints, Jämsä is definitely a representative of the ‘old school´.
In the current exhibition, Martti Jämsä explores new motifs in his art. Now his images plumb the past, ranging from the 1920s to the 1990s. Jämsä puts the visitor square in the middle of the thematically rather consistent imagery - almost like an installation - to which the various series of works and the individual works provide a narrative rhythm.
In his series of works, he draws analogies between old photographs, found by accident or unearthed from family albums, with pictures he has taken of various individual items, which thus gain higher symbolic value. The analogies result in "new pictures" being created, either as if emphasising the original meaning of the old pictures through his personal interpretation, or by reinterpreting them altogether. The name of the exhibition as well as one of the works in it - Fount - refers to this conceptual background.
All in all, Martti Jämsä´s pictures ask both the artist and the audience, "What do our old photos and keepsakes tell about our past? What kind of memories do we have?" The photographs communicate an intense awareness of time - and its passing.