Arno Rafael Minkkinen
Artist Writings
  Artist Statement   2009

Why I Work The Way I Work

Every time I make a photograph, I become a documentary photographer. If you see my arms coming up from under the snow, I am under the snow.

I treat the medium the same way a street shooter does. What happens in front of my camera happens in reality. There are no double exposures, no digital manipulations.

But I also look at the world through the mind. "What happens inside your mind can happen inside a camera." It is the line I wrote as a copywriter for a camera campaign before becoming a photographer.

Instead of giving expression to the world's outer appearances and perplexities, I have wished to explore the inner world of our fears, hopes, and desires in an attempt to make communion with the one world we inhabit.

Just as rocks and trees have not changed much over time, so our bodies are not much different today than they were five hundred years ago; hands, fingers, toes, all those basic things are essentially the same.

For thirty years now I have been engaged with this single idea: to use my own body as a means of expressing our relationship to nature.

As Georges Braque put it: "Out of limitations, new forms emerge." To know what it is that we want to do, Braque was saying, we had to know what it was we did not want to do, what it was we would never allow ourselves to do. For me, it was the documentary nature of photography that provided the discipline.

After that, it was simple. "Art is risk made visible" is another line I wrote, much later in life when I understood better just how difficult it could be.

©Arno Rafael Minkkinen