Finlandia Holds Reception for
Prominent Finnish Photographer
"Jari  Arffman"

above - (L)  IronwoodInfo reporter/photographer Arvo Toolanen (R) Jari Arffman, famous Finnish Photographer
Hancock - September 9, 2008

A reception was held this evening for Finnish Photographer Jari Arffman at the Finlandia University Gallery, in the Finnish American Heritage Center. Photography and art students and other photography enthusiasts attended the reception and discussed the photographer's work work with Arffman himself.

above - Jari Arffman discusses his techniques with very interested students and then he brings them to another part of the gallery (below) to show the young photographers examples of the techniques they had just discussed. One student asked if he did any painting or sketching to which he replied  "No I  do photographs only"

The exhibit is made up of three parts: St. Pragburg (2002), Utopia (2004), and St. Utopia (2006). The photos on display in their totality shows the photographers evolving style.  While this writer enjoys great photography, especially black and white film photography, I would not want to translate the under currents of Arffman's evolution. You should view this great wok for yourself.

Approximately fifty of Arffman's photographs  were on display at the gallery. The exhibit began September 6th and continues through September 11th, so there is still time for you to treat yourself to this exceptional photographic exhibit.

IronwoodInfo reporter, Arvo Toolanen asked asked Arffman how he started in his life's work. Jari told Arvo, in the 1980's he was working for a newspaper in northern Finland and there was a fire. No one available to cover the fire, so the editor handed Jari a camera and told him to photograph the firemen... Thirty years have past  and today we  get to benefit from that editor's wise decision.

Arvo asked Arffman about the origin of his sir name.  Jari said that he had searched his genealogy and found that his family originally came from the Netherlands and migrated to Finland.  Arffman was born and raised in Finland.  Jari speaks fliud English, speaks Spanish and understands Swedish but does not speak it. He learned Spanish from all the work he has done in Spain.

Arvo asked Jari about his work here with the students. He told Arvo that "he was very impressed with the variety of talent at Finlandia." He's busy working with the students when  he's here but more like vacation, as he works very hard back in Finland.

Part of the Gallery at the Finish American Heritage Center in Hancock

To see the the variety of student talent at Finlandia Read and view photos of the 2008 Finlandia Fusionfest
For more information and examples of Arffman's work read the Finlandia press release below.

Finlandia to Host Arffman Exhibit

HANCOCK, MI – Finnish artist and photographer Jari Arffman will visit the Copper Country and work with Finlandia University students from September 6 to September 11, 2008. An exhibit of Arffman’s work is featured at the Finlandia University Gallery, in the Finnish American Heritage Center, Hancock, through September 11.
A closing reception for the artist will take place at the Finlandia University Gallery Tuesday, September 9, 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
above - Jari Arffman photo by Jaana Haunula
Titled “Counterparts,” the exhibition consists of sixty traditional black and white photographs taken during the past seven years of various locations around the world. The exhibit contrasts Arffman's small native town in eastern Finland with metropolitan centers around the world.
“The exhibit is a type of homecoming,” Arffman said. “I grew tired of documentary photography at the end of the 1990s and wanted to lend more room to the imagination. The exhibit is made up of three parts: St. Pragburg (2002), Utopia (2004), and St. Utopia (2006).”

Photo above - Jari Arffman: Vastinparit - St. Utopia (2006)

Arffman uses traditional black-and-white photography and silver gelatin prints. He says that he has stayed faithful to his chosen path, only using digital cameras a few times when other people have asked him to take a picture with their camera.

“I have always taken traditional black-and-white pictures,” he says. “When the digital revolution was at its height around half a decade ago, I considered joining it a crime against black-and-white photography and tradition. I had accumulated a lot of know-how on black-and-white pictures which I did not want to throw away. Now it has become my strength.”
photo above - Jari Arffman: Utopia (2004)
Arffman's work continues the tradition of street photography, where the artist wanders the city streets looking for scenes that speak to him. The artist writes that the photos create a visual dialogue that transcends conventional preconceptions about international-ness and local-ness, and gives prominence to a way of being not dependent solely on our position on the globe.

Prior to its exhibition at the Finlandia University Gallery, Arffman’s Counterparts exhibition appeared in two locations in Finland. The Kajaani (Finland) Art Museum has published a book on the exhibition titled, “Jari Arffman: Counterparts – Vastinparit” (with both Finnish and English text).
Vastinparit - St. Pragburg (2002)
BusinessART - Purso Oy (2007)
Following its stop in Hancock, Counterparts will travel to the Nordic Heritage Museum, Seattle. In 2009 the exhibit will travel to the Sami Artist Center in Karasjok, Norway, and to Budapest, Hungary.

Artist Jari Arffman's career extends over twenty years. In the early 1990s he returned to live in Tampere, Finland, where he studied international relations at the University of Tampere and received a masters degree in social sciences. As a university student, Arffman also worked as a photojournalist and a writer.
photo above - BusinessART - Avant Tecno Oy (2006)
Arffman’s photographs have been widely exhibited throughout Finland and Europe. His work is held in numerous collections including the Art Collections of the State of Finland, the Tampere Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Finland, and the Art Collection of San Bartolome de Tirajana in Spain. Arffman also runs BusinessART, a company that creates corporate images through photography. Arffman’s work has been featured in approximately 70 solo exhibitions, about 15 of them outside of Finland.

The “Counterparts” exhibit is made possible by grants from the Finlandia Foundation, Finn Spark, Inc., FRAME - Finnish Fund for Art Exchange, Sami Artist Center, and the Arts Council of Pirkanmaa.

The Finlandia University Gallery is in the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy Street, Hancock. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., or by appointment. Please call 906-487-7500 for more information.  is a Michigan, Non-Profit Media Corporation


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