Marja-Leena Rathje
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Arno Rafael Minkkinen


Arno Rafael Minkkinen, Self-portrait, Dead Horse Point, Utah, 1997, 20" x 24"

I first became acquainted with Arno Rafael Minkkinen, an internationally known Finnish-American photographer through Art Daily some months ago. His works affected me deeply, and I bookmarked it for a future blog post. Now, many months later, I happened on it again, so now it's time to share my admiration for his work.

Minkkinen was born in Finland, moved to the US as a child and now lives in Massachusetts. Since 1988, he has been a Professor of Art at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. He has had numerous exhibitions around the world. Recently he was the subject of a mid-career retrospective at DeCordova Museum. Saga: The Journey of Arno Rafael Minkkinen, Photographs 1970-2005 is a 120-print traveling exhibition accompanied by a new large publication.

"Since the early 1970s, Minkkinen has been photographing his unclothed body in a wide variety of landscape and interior settings, from Finland to New England, from the American West to sites in Italy and France. These unmanipulated surreal and timeless black and white photographs are astonishing in the way Minkkinen maneuvers his body so that it echoes or seems to become part of the land formation. As A.D. Coleman, one of the curators of the exhibition writes, Minkkinen's "...images comprise an account of an epic journey--both a physical adventure in the natural and urban world and a psychological voyage of the lone human spirit."

I hope you enjoy browsing through Arno Rafael Minkkinen's site as much as I do!


Some of the shots are quite Daili-esque, the hands against the rocks, for example. There's enough here to keep me browsing for a week. What an obsessive muse he has. Another goody, Marja-Leena.

Daliesque and surreal, yes! Obsessive muse - very! Glad you like this, Anna!

Wondrous stuff yet again, thank you! This is definitely one for long contemplation - and a genuinely fresh eye. Thank you also for reminding me of the DeCordova. I spent many hours there when we lived nearby in the early 80s, and have special memories of a series of photography lectures and a fantastic outdoor concert by Dave Brubeck.

Omega, you do get around!! Glad this gives you pleasure and good memories.


I wonder how his son Daniel feels about these now.

Hi Jarrett - great to have you drop by! If I were Daniel, I'd be pretty proud of my father, just as father's pride for son shows in the photos - don't you think? I'm also impressed how much Minkkinen worked in Finland, thus keeping in touch with his roots.

Kiitos, thank you for the extraordinary trip. I didn´t know Arno Rafael Minkkinen has his own site. I´m glad you´ve helped us to find it. Fabulous work!

Hei viidesrooli! Kiitos käynnistä! Olen joskus käynyt blogissasi ja muistan kovasti ihailevan ¨viides roolin¨ nimen selityksesi ja halusi ¨toimia taiteen äänitorvena¨. On kiva tutustua suomalaisiin bloggaajiin - siten saan harjoitusta minun huonolle suomenkielelle.

Hei Marja-Leena, en ollut varma, miten sujuvasti käytät suomen kieltä, siksi kirjoitin englanniksi. Sinun blogisi on vastaavasti itselleni loistavaa englannin kielen harjoitusta. Puhumattakaan että bloggaat kiinnostavista aiheista, kiitos niistä.

Viides rooli, niin minä arvelin, siksi vastasin suomeksi, vaikka on se heikko. Kiitos sanoista. Onhan meillä yhteistä kiinnostusta taiteessa.