"Feels great!" - Jaakko Kahilaniemi won ING Unseen Talent Award

Jaakko Kahilaniemi and Alexey Shlyk. Photo: Maarten Neuw

The photographer, who graduated from Aalto University in summer 2018 was the first Finnish photographer participating in the competition. Kahilaniemi (born 1989) says the award came as a surprise. The prize is 10,000 euros. "The feelings was incredible, it felt really unrealistic to win the main prize. I shuddered when I went to receive the award while the flashes blinked. Only now that nearly a week has passed, I’m starting to understand what this is all about."

"It's great to have such a recognizion, especially since my subject is wide, complex and quite difficult to open up: the relationship of humans to their environment and climate change. My approach was very subtle and experimental, so I greatly appreciate that the jury understood the whole idea of my four photographic works, taken on a tight schedule", Kahilaniemi explains.

Sculpture exhibition coming up

The Jury states: “We were impressed by his intriguing presentation which effectively communicated ideas around man’s complex relationship with nature. In tackling one of the most important political themes of our time, we found his work Nature Like Capital to be a multi-layered approach, influenced by land art tradition and an exploration of photographic form within a personal narrative context.”

The ING Unseen Talent Award aims to provide exceptional European photography talent with a platform to present work on an international level. The winners were chosen from a group of five finalists. In addition to Jaakko Kahilaniemi and the winner of the Public Prize Alexey Shlyk (Belarus) also Dávid Biró (Hungary), Pauline Niks (The Netherlands) and Eva O’Leary (Ireland) were part of the shortlist. 

Kahilaniemi is currently working on a sculpture exhibition that will open 19 October at the Tampere Artists' Association's showroom at Mältinranta Gallery. This is his first private sculpture exhibition with no photos, but only sculptural installations. After the exhibition he will continue working on the winning photo collection.

"Working requires a persistent and tactful approach because I do not want the work to underline or preach. Secrets and oddities, and new visual approaches are the way I will work on with the themes."