Oct 29, 2009

Janne Lehtinen's Night Shift

i relate to this time of year, and i embrace the slowness that is to come. in July i would have killed for a night with stars in the sky, but of course in another month i will be daydreaming of a high noon sun. living in the northern regions is about embracing place, and not succumbing to thoughts of the color of grasses elsewhere.

Janne Lehtinen's Night Shift stirs me to sit up and embrace the darkness of the Northern latitudes. the Finnish photographer's book is comprised of unsettling artificially lit photographs of his native town, Karhula, on the coast of Finland. the landscapes are tightly effective, but it's the portraits of his father that get me in the gut. the weary, almost dazed, look on his face consistent through many of the photographs speak so acutely to life in the North to me. my appreciation for this book actually strays from the literal story at play. Lehtinen made photographs of his father, at home, early in the morning after cycling home from overnight shifts at the local paper mill. a wonderful story. however, i can't shake seeing self portraits in his work. these could so easily be photographs of the artist turning the camera on himself after long nights roaming the streets of Karhula. those are the eyes of someone yearning for light, being sucked dry by the cold and sunless days, and disorientation of working the graveyard shift. waking from a deep sleep, and after looking outside, still not knowing whether the clock reads 3:00 am or pm. without the text, this is how i would read it. frankly, right or wrong, it's how i choose to read it.

seeing a photo of Lehtinen on seen.by, and the resemblance between him and his father leads me to believe that one day this work could age into an autobiographical piece.

all images © Janne Lehtinen

listening to Graham Lindsey

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