What are the exhibition’s main themes, questions, and deliberations?
Last Man Fishing depicts a global change and explores the declining fishing culture in the Gulf of Bothnia. The exhibition moves on the border of photographic art and documentary, and raises questions about the change in primary production and urbanization. At the same time, it is a glimpse into the world of the last fishermen who still make a living from the industry. The changing environment and demanding work in harsh weather conditions make fishing challenging, but the longing for freedom and passion for the industry makes fishermen continue as long as their feet just carry. Although, technological developments in the field have been tremendous, I believe that there is something unchanging in the relationship between the fisherman and the sea—- the human type has remained the same since the beginning of time.
What is the exhibition like? Where are the photographs taken?
Last Man Fishing comprises photographic works shot in the Bay of Bothnia. The exhibition features images from 2014 to 2020 and the body of work at Hippolyte Korjaamo is my first personal project. It has served me as a kind of training and a path of development. The starting point of the project was originally journalistic, but along the way, visual language slide towards a more poetic and timeless aesthetic expression. During the process, I have reflected on my relationship with the sea and fishing. In my work, there is a touch of little boyish curiosity and the images are a kind of self-portraits.
Who are you as an artist? Tell briefly about your artistic practice and your relationship to photography.
I have been called a depictor of the Northern man, partly due to the fact that I have lived almost all of my life in Northern Finland. I am interested in the relationship between man and nature, and change. I strive to look at the world from a human level and approach it through everyday observations. I portray people as they are, as their own selves. I believe in photograph’s ability to reveal or tell something that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Antti J. Leinonen is a photographer living in Ii, Northern Ostrobothnia. He has been working as a freelance photographer since 2002. His background is in photojournalism. www.anttileinonen.com
The exhibition is kindly supported by Finnish Cultural Foundation, Northern Ostobothnia Fund, Patricia Seppälä Foundation and Valto Pernu Foundation.
Antti J. Leinonen
Last Man Fishing
Hippolyte Korjaamo Culture Factory Korjaamo (Töölönkatu 51 a-b, 00250 Helsinki)
Open during Korjaamo opening hours: Tue 11-14, Wed-Thu 11-21, Fri 11-23, Sat 15-23
image: Antti J. Leinonen, Seagulls, 2014