Pentti Sammallahti, Biography of the Artist

1950 Born into an artisan family in Helsinki, his grandmother is the Swedish-born photographer Hildur Larsson.

1959 He and his father visit The Family of Man photography exhibition at Helsinki Art Hall, where, as his father reported, he says he knows what he wants to do with his life.

1961 First photographs, tiny contact prints made under his father's guidance.

1963 The school nature club leads to him joining the camera club, run by chemistry teacher and enthusiastic amateur photographer Eero Laaksovirta. Makes an enlarger. Begins taking photographs of Helsinki with his classmate Lauri Nevanlinna.

1964 Joins Helsinki Camera Club, where he gets to know Antero Takala, Ismo Hölttö, Mikko Savolainen, Jaakko Holm, Pertti Hietanen, Jussi Aalto, Keijo Kansonen, Reijo Porkka and many others.

1965-1970 Takes active part in international exhibitions by amateur photographers.

1967-1970 Adopts a pacifist worldview inspired by pamphlets: Pentti Linkola's Ihmisen ja isänmaan puolesta - ei ketään vastaan, Erkki Tuomioja's Tahditon rauhanmarssi and Unto Tähtinen's Mitä Gandhi todella sanoi.

1969 Begins going out with his future wife, Pirkko. Children: Ola -77, Joel -83, Sara ‑87 and Leo -92.

1970 Enrols in the University of Helsinki to study art history, musicology and mathematics, gained no study credits.

1970-1973 Does illustrations and layouts for small cultural newspapers (Itä-Suomi, Suomenkieliset tietosanomat) edited by Pertti Lassila and Jukka Tennilä.

1970-73 Runs photographer Matti A. Pitkänen's black-and-white and colour laboratory.

1971 First solo exhibition Kaupunki on painajainen. Invited to join the Imago 6 group, founded as a critical discussion group in response to what it sees as the ossified Helsinki Camera Club.

1973-74 Refuses military service. Starts civilian service in a prison glass-fibre-boat workshop. Later, photographs prisoners for the Ministry of Justice's prison-administration department.

1974 Mullasta taivaalle exhibition at the Finnish Museum of Photography. Begins part-time teaching of photography at Lahti Art School (until 1976) and the University of Art and Design (until 1991).

1975 Receives his first State Art Award for Photographic Art (subsequently also in 1979, 1992, 2009).

1976 Uusia sarjoja exhibition at the Finnish Museum of Photography.

1977 First solo exhibition abroad at the Gotland artists' house in Visby. Followed by solo exhibitions in twenty countries.

1978 He and Jorma Puranen plan the publication of the Opus series of photographic art books and portfolios.

1979 First portfolio Cathleen Ní Houlihan. The exhibition tours dozens of localities. The portfolio launches the Opus series, which now includes more than 50 books or portfolios by more than ten artists.

1980 Finnish Critics' Association's Kritiikin kannukset award. Begins systematically experimenting with photograph reproduction and photomechanical copying.

1984 Begins teaching printing work in the Department of Photography at the University of Art and Design.

1989 Photographing trip to China and Japan with Kristoffer Albrecht, who becomes his closest collaborator. More than twenty joint photographing trips to Europe, Asia and Africa. Shared workshop 1994-2008.

1991 Finnish State's 15-year artist's grant. Ended 17 years of teaching at the University of Art and Design. First journey to the Caspian Sea and Siberia, with Taneli Eskola.

1996 Solo exhibition at Paris' Mois de la Photographie, leading to regular exhibitions at international photography events in Europe, Asia, America and Africa.

2001 University of Art and Design awards him title of Honorary Doctorate in Art.

2004 Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation's opening exhibition in Paris, for which Cartier-Bresson chooses 100 of his favourite photographers.

2005 Monograph in the French Photo Poche book series edited by Robert Delpire, which presents the work of classic photographers.

2006 Pro Finlandia medal. Staden - Kaupunki (Opus 45), made together with the writer Bo Carpelan, is chosen as most beautiful book of the year.

2009 Twentieth pictorial work Huoneita·Chambres·Rooms (Opus 52) with the poet Caj Westerberg.

2010 Retrospective at the Finnish Museum of Photography.

470helsinki finland 2000Limingantie, Kumpula Helsinki 2000





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