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Aki-Pekka Sinikoski

Aki-Pekka Sinikoski is a Finnish Photographer. His Last Machos exhibition was on at the Northern Photographic Centre in Oulu. Last Machos exhibition tells a story about change, loneliness and what it is like to be a Finnish man. It is a continuance to his Finnish Teens photography series from years earlier, which was presented e.g. in the Finnish Museum of Photography.
Aki-Pekka Sinikoski, valokuvaaja

Tell us more about yourself. Who are you and what do you do?

I’m a photographer and a father of two. According to my daughter I’m both the best photographer and the best dad in the world. In addition to this, I’d like to share that I’m the best in the world to become enthusiastic about different projects that have absolutely nothing to do with photography.

As an example, during my studies I built robots and also played at Norwegian music festival. While doing this interview at hand, I’m lying on the beach and writing my second children’s book.

How did you end up studying your particular area?

Already as a child, I was incurably nostalgic. I believe photographs have an ability to make the time stop and convey stories in a universal language. I spent all my childhood summers in the archipelago where I sat by the fireplace or on the pier listening to stories. I believe you can see both – my attempt to pause the moment and pass on the stories I’ve heard – in my photographs.

Your Last Machos photography exhibition was at the Northern Photographic Centre in Oulu. Please tell us more about your exhibition.

Last Machos portraits men of the post-war Finnish generation. I’m talking about those men who climb to hot tin roofs and up fire escape ladders with their newly adjusted, squeaking hip joints. My photos portrait these beloved, slightly grumpy old men, who can be found in nearly every family, and whose everyday bravery spouses and children follow – sometimes secretly amused, other times terrified.

Last Machos exhibition tells a story about change, loneliness and what’s it like to be a Finnish man. It is a continuation to my earlier photography series Finnish Teens.  That series was presented in the Finnish Museum of Photography, for example.

What’s the best memory you have of your study times?

There are many good memories, but perhaps the most memorable ones are the many courses and trips that took me all the way to Africa. What makes me smile the most, is when I think of the party we set up with my classmates in the old rail yard warehouse, and I played records together with Teemu Mäki and Jouko Lehtola. Shame though that the property did not have a single toilet!

What’s the best thing you’ve learned during studies and how has it helped you in the working life?

Instead of taking shortcuts, the desire to follow my own path and really listen and take care of the people I work with has become important to me. During my Bachelor studies, our Head teacher Tuovi Hippeläinen was the kind of a person who trusted, encouraged and always cared for his students. Trust, encouragement and taking care of others form a perfect platform for creativity. I’m deeply grateful to Tuovi about this particular education given through practice. Being academic is surely important but to be a good person to another human being was - and is -- far more important in my world.

Tell us something surprising about you?

During my MA-studies I organized Helsinki Biennale. I managed to acquire the Design Museum as the venue and curated and organized the exhibition by myself. I took care of the sponsors and most of the other arrangements, such as visual look, coding of the webpage and merchandising. Me and my friends took care of all of this and it eventually turned out to be an exhibition visited by over 25 000 people. That’s a lot for a DIY exhibition! Nowadays multidisciplinary approach is normal at Aalto but during my studies curating and organizing an exhibition were not at first accepted as part of my art studies, because they were considered not having anything to do with photography. The change to multidisciplinary thinking has been a right path to follow and at the same time surprisingly fast process at Aalto.

What should everyone experience at least once in their lifetime?

One should swim in the ocean with dolphins who hum Imagine by John Lennon. If this is not possible, I will give you a bit more conventional but just as hippy answer: everyone should be able to love and feel loved at least once in their lifetime.

Photography by Sinikoski can be found here:

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