This is my handwriting, also my handwriting are the images presented on these pages, for over 40 years, with Leicas, Hasselblads and various Nikon cameras. They are placed here in different “portofolios” representing different periods in my professional career.
What I try to do still as an “Oldie” is to get still the same feel, the same enthusiasm, what I had when I first picked up a camera and made my first exposures on B&W film in a jazz concert of John Coltrane, back in 1961..
Yes I grew up in the period of movie “Blow UP”, David Hemmings mimicing there the fashion photographer David Bailey, a hippie driving a Rolls, Nikon F hanging from his shoulder and shooting ” Social Documentary” in the back streets of London in his spare time, then going to his luxurious studio, shooting fashion images of photo model girls. Oh those times…
Oh yes, I still like the sound of a shutter clicking and preserving what I see and feel in a slice of a 60`th of a second. I have those slices, hundreds of them, stored in my negative files. I feel truly rich, not by looking at my bank account, but looking and remembering the images in my archives. This website is about those images. My Life in photography, I am in the process of writing a book about it, with a grant from Patricia Seppälä Foundation. The images here represent the majority of those chosen for the book/exhibition
John Coltrane in Helsinki 1961: THE START OF MY PHOTO CAREER !
I have divided this website to three major segments:
EARLY YEARS: Work for fun, shooting jazzmen, girls, early fashion shots etc The period culminated in three reportage works, one in LAPLAND and others, made duringa TRAIN TRIP around Finland, Helsinki /Kuusamo/ Helsinki and one during my ARMY stint, the publication of my first serious reportage, after coming out of army . I forgot these two first stories and come upon them when starting to study my archives. They have never been published…
After army service , I opened a studio and started to do Commercial Reportage and Fashion work This period I call MEDIA YEARS It lasted in various forms from beginning of the 70`s up till end of 90`s . The advertising comissions I pass quietly ( it was good money, though)and concentrate on website to the more free work for artistis, musicans, fashion designers and new fantastic fashion model girls, that wanted to have a different look in their portofolio from what the other photographers were doing at that time. I have a lot of this material and I want to point out to the guys working in the photo business now: I always sold my work on single usage terms. I own the copyright to all my material, that applies of course also to this material on this website! When I was applying for a “Artist´s Pension” from Finnish State, the Photography Professor MERJA SALO Wrote to the committee: In Finland, History of Fashion, Design or Popular Music cannot be written without Jukka Vatanen´s Photo Images of his period… No wonder they could not refuse to give me that pension !
The last segment in my career I call FINALE YEARS I started to do photographs without comission, just by my own free will, in order to keep my sanity, between the daily “Professional Studio Jobs” I started to do the ” Grainy days” Portofolio, just shooting for kicks, in B&W and in bad weather. This I see now as a “KATHARSIS”, cleaning my inside of all the agression and junk. I continued with Leicas, in 35mm black & white film. Street photography. Shooting everyday stuff, just for fun, honing my skills again as an observer, and having great time doing it. I have got rid of most of the professional equipment that filled my studio during the “professional career” I just have some 35mm Leicas, as my daily companions I am active also with younger LEICA users, we have in Internet a group. LSF, for “Leica Shooters Finland” It is a Facebok Group, Check it out !
My present aim is to do the material for my retrospective, both old and new material, to be presented as a multimedia work. There is still a lot to do and live ! Hope there is still days to do it…
- Read my memoirs online: Jukka’s Better Blues
- Listen to “Jelly Roll” here: Jelly Roll My first recording … year 1964
- Listen to “Jukka’s Better Blues” here: Jukka’s Better Blues Actually my last blues, from 2017
My Interview in Yle Arena is still ” in the air” http://areena.yle.fi/radio/1704941 ( made in 2012…, over 1000 “hits” )
- There is currently my exhibition of JAZZ IMAGES in PJAZZA RESTAURANT In the corner of BULEVARDI and YRJÖNKATU in Southern Helsinki Check it out ! Nice B&W images
Thanks for looking, Jukka Watanen
“Leica Shooter” like my father and also my Son Tuukka…