Art Photographs, Text and Tea – Part 2


Art Photographs, Text and Tea – Part 2

Both the way we look at images, and the way we understand them is constantly shifting. Rapid technological progress has devalued the methods in which we communicate – whether those where written text, images or spoken word. How do we define ourselves through images and text today, and how does the view change when you look at the world through the lens of a camera?

Kastehelmi Korpijaakko is a female photographer, Saku Heinänen a male author working on a novel about a female photographer. Their stories are not connected in real life but become intertwined through the context of photography.

The Finnish Institute in Japan invited 15 renowned art photographers, curators, gallery directors and other art and literature professionals to contemplate the relationship between art photography and text. In the seminar Art photographs, text and tea – Part 2 they discussed the subject through their own works and concrete examples. The seminar was a part of the seminar series FIN/JPN LAB.

In the event two Finnish artists Kastehelmi Korpijaakko and Saku Heinänen talked about their work and pondered on the theme of text and photography. After the presentations the Head of Culture and Communications of the Finnish Institute in Japan Kati Laakso moderated a talk session between the two artists to really connect their stories.

Kastehelmi Korpijaakko is a Finnish Photography Artist. Main themes in Korpijaakko’s works are concern for the environment and the role of photography in building ethical consensus. Korpijaakko has a Master’s Degree in Art Education and she is currently studying Photography in Aalto University. She has also studied Photography at the Musashino Art University in Tokyo as an exchange student.

Korpijaakko participated in an Artist-in-Residence Program organized by the Finnish Institute in Japan and the Akiyoshidai International Art Village in the spring 2017. The theme of the residency program was The Future of this Land. In her works Korpijaakko studies the impact that humans have on their environment. The theme is also relevant in Akiyoshidai, an area that once was covered by a forest, but is now bare due to human actions. The forest was cut down and replaced with fields of pampas grass. The area is still burned once a year to stop the trees from growing.

During her residency Korpijaakko prepared a new photography series titled The Declaration of Uncertainty.

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Declaration of Uncertainty is a collection of images of different objects found from Akiyoshidai, Yamaguchi prefecture and composed on a white background. According to Korpijaakko, her inspiration for this work has been the OOO, object-oriented ontology, school of thought that rejects the privilege of human existence over the existence of nonhuman objects. The final work resembles the Japanese way of writing, every object becomes a word that tells a story about our time through it’s material and origin.

The act of using tape to attach the objects to the white surface is a reference to both forensic photography and the structure of our language driven way of thinking.


In the seminar Korpijaakko also talked about her earlier works. Her photo series Negative Space talks about the impact that humans have on their environment. The photographs show traces of human activity on on the ground such as footprints, holes and scratches.

Saku Heinänen is a Finnish Author, Illustrator and Designer. He has written and illustrated two praised children’s novels, Zaida and the Snow Angel and Zaida and the Thunderbolts.


The third part of the trilogy Zaida ja taistelupari will be published in the spring of 2017. Heinänen has also illustrated books by many other famous authors such as Salla Simukka.

He has previously worked as a professional Type Designer and as a Professor of Graphic Design at Aalto University. Heinänen participated in an Artist-in-Residence Program organized by the Finnish Institute in Japan and the Finnish writers union at Youkobo Art Space in Tokyo in 2017. During his residency he concentrated on writing his first novel for adults. The theme of the novel is the life of a female photographer.



You can download the leaflet for the seminar here.
The event was also recorded on Facebook-live! You can watch the video from here.


The seminar Art Photography Text and Tea – Part 2 is the second part of the new seminar series JPN/FIN LAB. In 2016 we organized part 1 of the seminar series together with art photographer and researcher Maija Tammi and the Professor of Photography of the Royal College of Art Olivier Richon.