Nelli Palomäki – Elsa and Viola

“I almost never carry my camera with me. Sometimes its presence even haunts me. It’s more fun to view the environment without the pressure of photographing it. Running children with an angry mother after them, a big cockroach crossing the ship’s deck, a lonely man with a sleeping bag under his arm and a family playing cards together. Do they notice me? I imagine where people are going and how they live. An old woman must be lonely and that’s why she’s carrying a big bag of doughnuts, only to lie about coming visitors. A man walks to his hangout bar every day to sit and watch people without saying a word to anyone. It would be romantic to think that he must be a writer, but probably he’s just a lonely man. A child dangles a cat from its tail without anyone telling the child not to. A fashionable woman in the perfume department looks at me with contempt, I feel like laughing.”

Antonio at 5

Dorothée and Anaïs at 23 and 25

“My pictures force me to go close to people. I’m curious. A photograph is born out of life and exploring it. Everything around me is simply interesting enough, I don’t need complicating. Light gushing out from the window, a sad face, a suffering hedgehog by the side of the road and a party with friends going on till morning. One morning I wake up to the sound of a drill, after a week to the sound of a cockcrow. The music around me changes and each oncoming person seems weirder than the last. A long man on the street has wrapped himself in a blanket and collects cigarette ends in his pockets, people around him are ordering beef tenderloin for lunch. A small child is dressed up in a woman’s dress; a lonely dog is going through a garbage bag looking for food. I don’t take pictures of them, but I’m absorbing life from around me.”

Dora at 7

Julia 5 and Roi 3 with their dad

“I sit in the tram and follow two little girls. They look remarkably alike. Although the girls are playing together, they have sad looks on their faces. Even the greatest laugh will not change the seriousness of the faces. The girls stay in my thoughts for a long time. After a few months, I see them again, this time with their mother. I end up taking a portrait of Elsa and Viola in their home. I stuff the girls in one big tulle dress to keep them as close to each other as possible for a longer time. The girls sit seriously next to each other and look the same as they did months before. I’m amused by their seriousness, at the same time there is something sad about it.”

Julia at 5

Pinja at 3

“I search for the perfect picture, but it escapes. In the end, a portrait is always different from what I expected. Other pictures surprise me with their strength, others merely disappoint me. Disappointment, however, motivates me to continue. Excitement after each shoot is always as great, the fear of failure always as fascinating. I sit in the tram and study new negatives. Against the window they look successful. But I know the pictures will end up different than I expect. Something has changed. Perhaps the person’s eyes are just about to close, a child has moved or there is a trace of an irritating artificial smile. A picture planned beforehand changes through coincidence and surprises and escapes from the photographer. If I succeeded in taking the perfect picture, I would hardly continue shooting.”

more images on the artist’s website