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Academy of Fine Arts, Uniarts Helsinki

Paradoxes of Photography

Image: Suzanne Mooney: An Endless Searching for Substance – 16’ (2022). Archival inkjet print, 49x40cm.

Paradoxes of Photography

The Finnish Museum of Photography, Large exhibition space
13 May – 28 August 2022

Paradoxes of Photography exhibition invites viewers to reflect on the expectations and concepts related to photography. The exhibition is a selection of research-based projects that challenge the idea of “the photographic”.

Artists and researchers: Bruno CaldasOuti Condit & Rosie Swayne, Stephen Cornford, Suzanne MooneyTuula Närhinen, Tuomo Rainio, Mia Seppälä, Jukka Häkkinen and Jenni Niemelä-Nyrhinen & Niina Uusitalo.

The exhibition has been curated by Mika Elo.

 The exhibition has been funded by The Olga and Vilho Linnamo Foundation, The Academy of Finland funded Post-digital Epistemologies of the Photographic Image (PEPI) project, and The Academy of Fine Arts, University of the Arts Helsinki.

Visit the museums website

The exhibition is accompanied by a symposium and a series of public events:

Photographic Epistemologies symposium

Saturday 11 June 2022, at 9.30–16.30 (onsite in Helsinki)

The Finnish Museum of Photography
The Cable Factory, Kaapeliaukio 3, staircase G, 00180 Helsinki, Finland

In the contemporary media society, an implicit idea of 'the photographic' seems still to guide us: Visuals endowed with a photographic look are experienced and dealt with as if they would testify of a presence in front of a camera even though they may be result of computational processes. Paradoxically, if you see an image as a photograph, it is a photograph – for you. This circular paradox – seeing images as photographs through the lens of photography – constitutes the starting point of the Paradoxes of Photography exhibition.

Photographic Epistemologies seminar continues to elaborate on the theme of the exhibition by offering three key-note presentations rooted in three different disciplines (visual arts, social sciences, philosophy). These presentations and the accompanying discussions aim to address photographic epistemologies from perspectives relevant to the understanding of photography and photographic practices within the post-digital condition.


9:30               Opening words (Elina Heikka and Janne Seppänen)

10:00             Stephen Cornford: Inverting resolution

10:40             Discussion (moderated by Tuula Närhinen)

11:00             Panel with the artists of the exhibition (moderated by Mika Elo)

12:00             Lunch break

13:30             Patricia Prieto-Blanco: Affective Epistemologies

14:10             Discussion (moderated by Jenni Niemelä-Nyrhinen)

14:30             Coffee break

15:00             Bense Nanay: The power of photographs: Not just – and not primarily – epistemic

15:40             Discussion (moderated by Jukka Häkkinen)

16:00             Closing words (Mika Elo, Janne Seppänen, Jukka Häkkinen)

16:30             End


Patricia Prieto-Blanco is a Lecturer in Digital Media Practice at Lancaster University. Her areas of expertise are visual methods of research and photographic practices. She has worked ethnographically with transnational families and explored how they incorporate photography in everyday routines, addressing media practices in the contexts of migration, kinship and intimacy. Her latest research inquires into the performativity of images in the context of activism, online and offline. She is an advocate of interdisciplinary, participatory and practice-based research.

Stephen Cornford is a media artist and a researcher whose current work is concerned with the toxicity of digital media, the complex metallurgical materiality of ubiquitous technologies, and the relationships between planetary and photographic space. Since 2015 he works as Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, Oxford Brookes University. In 2018 he completed PhD Fine Art affiliated to the Archaeologies of Media & Technology Research Group at Winchester School of Art.

 Bense Nanay is a philosopher working in the area of sensory research and philosophical psychology. He is Professor of Philosophy and BOF Research Professor at the University of Antwerp and has worked as a film critic. He is co-director of the Centre for Philosophical Psychology at the University of Antwerp and Senior Research Associate at Peterhouse, Cambridge University.

Read the program

The Seminar is organized by the Academy of Finland research project Post-Digital Epistemologies of the Photographic Image (PEPI, 2019–2022).

 PEPI combines psychology, visual studies and artistic research. Professor Janne Seppänen from Tampere University is the Principal Investigator of the consortium. At the University of Helsinki, the team is led by Docent Jukka Häkkinen. At the University of the Arts Helsinki, the research is led by Professor Mika Elo. Tuula Närhinen (University of the Arts Helsinki), Tuomas Leisti (University of Helsinki), Jenni Niemelä-Nyrhinen (Tampere University) and Niina Uusitalo (Tampere University) work as postdoctoral researchers in the project.

Visit the projects website

Yleisötapahtumien sarja | Series of public discussion events

 The Finnish Museum of Photography
The Cable Factory, Kaapeliaukio 3, staircase G, 00180 Helsinki, Finland

18 May 2022 Wednesday, 6–8pm [FI]

Valokuva ja havainto

Mitä valokuvat kertovat havaitsemisen tottumuksista ja lainalaisuuksista?

*havainto *psykologia *kuvan tekemisen tekniikat *kuvan olomuodot

Mika Elo, Mia Seppälä, Jukka Häkkinen, Tuomo Rainio ja Tuula Närhinen

1 June 2022, Wednesday 6-8pm [FI]

Valokuva ja some

*sosiaalinen media *arkistot ja kokoelmat

Miten navigoida kuvavirrassa?

Mika Elo, Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger, Jenni Niemelä-Nyrhinen, Niina Uusitalo.

10 June 2022, Friday, 4–6pm [ENG]

Infrastructures of visuality

How is the horizon of expectations of visual experience formatted?

*vision *AI *optical devices *scale *senses

Mika Elo, Suzanne Mooney, Stephen Cornford, and Bruno Caldas




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