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Kalle Kataila

Country of Birth : Finland
Resident : Finland
Title : Photographer
Statement and research interests :
Kalle Kataila's latest landscape photos are landscapes devoid of any metaphors. Kataila has constructed the photos using aesthetics, harmony, distance and division of the image into clean lines. The essence of the landscapes is expressed aptly in a line from Eeva-Liisa Manner's poem Speculation:

    "And the world that changes a little every day (The mountains seem ever more like mountains, the sea like the sea)"
The people in Kataila's photos have turned their backs to the viewer. What are they looking at? What are they seeing? They are looking at the sun, the moon or a darkening horizon, but perhaps also towards the future. Are they perhaps wondering how humanity has arrived in the current world situation, or are they thinking about their own lives at the moment of the photo? Perhaps we might even ask, what is the past they do not wish to see, and have turned their backs upon? Is the act of turning one's back an attempt to find shelter in a harmonious landscape and one's private experience of it? By putting himself into the landscape, Kataila alludes to the photographic tradition wherein the photo is seen as being always connected to the moment of its exposure. Kataila not only depicts his landscapes, he also exposes himself to them. This role cannot but affect the questions asked by the young man looking for answers. Why am I standing here, watching the moon, what is it I feel in doing so?


An early starting point for Kataila's photography was the notion of landscape, inherited from the romantic movement, in which nature was an object of admiration. People would travel long distances to see some particular view, and the emotions evoked by it were at times almost like a religious revelation. This mode of looking put the viewer in contact with the landscape. The landscape became a mirror that reflected the viewer's emotional experience, and also affirmed the viewer's sense of unity with nature.

Another early starting point for Kataila was the representation of space. In the series Avara kosketus, the sky seems to go on forever beyond the boundaries of the photo. The figure standing or sitting beneath the sky seems to be experiencing a moment without beginning or end. Although these photos can be said to depict landscapes, they are not about vantage points or sights in the usual sense of the words. The sites have been discovered in the spirit of romanticism, while the photos themselves seem to reveal an experience in which presence in the landscape is more important than the place where the experience takes place.


These early starting points are present also in Kalle Kataila's latest landscape photos, in the background, over the horizon or in the air. Using photography's inherent means of image construction, the photos forefront the experience of the sky as sky, the ground as ground, as well as the human figure's experience taking place in a mundane setting, without any interpretation to make it sublime.

Kari Alatalo
Art critic

Selected exhibitions :
2007  Dis/Connected, APT-gallery London, 31.5.-18.6.07
         Helsinki School -spring exhibition, The Finnish Museum of Photography, 1.6.-26.8.07
         Space & Identity, Lume -gallery 1.6.-14.6.07
2005  USKO (Theme Faith) -in Finnish contemporary photography, Amos Andersson Art museum, Helsinki Nov 2005 - Jan 2006

Publications :
Maiseman kanssa kasvokkain, Maahenki publishing, ISBN: 978-952-5652-02-4
USKO (Faith and spirituality in Finnish contemporary photography), 2005, edition 600, ISBN: 951-95372-2-8
Arkipako - photography book and calendar, 2001 Salpausselän kirjapaino, edition 1500
TV&Media: My Rimpoche documentary film, 52 min 2005, ITI Film Group Poland

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