Kimmo Metsäranta is a visual artist based in Helsinki, Finland. He received his BA from Turku University of Applied Sciences and his MA from Aalto University School of Art and Design. In 2015 he was shortlisted for his series, 'Animal Behaviour' in the Sony World Photography Awards Professional competition.
Kimmo's work has been widely shown in exhibitions in Finland and abroad and he was nominated for the Fotofinlandia award in 2008 and EmmaPrize in 2009. He works mostly in the commercial field of photography but also shoots personal projects. He has done shoots for numerous clients and magazines, including: Fazer, Nanso, Sampo Group, Flow festival, HP, Sato, Elovena, De Lénclos, Ray, Sicky - magazine, Parliament of Finland, Solar Films, Universal Music, REVS, Vice, Schön! Neue Journal, Teos publishing, Fried music, S -magazine, Nasty, and Time magazine. He is available for commissions around the world.
Hi Kimmo, please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your photography
I'm a 39-year-old commercial photographer from Finland. I shoot mainly people in the studio but my personal projects tend to be the opposite; animals and buildings for example. I think my style of photography is very minimal with shapes and colour being the main focus.
Why photography? What does the medium mean to you?
I've taken pictures ever since I was kid but just for fun. I was 24 when I thought that maybe I could do photography as a profession. I had worked with video before. I applied and got into Turku University of Applied Sciences to study photography. From there I got my BA and later an MA from Aalto University. For some time I wanted to concentrate on exhibitions before noticing that I wanted to do shoots at a more rapid pace, and commercial shoots offered a desired variety to the job.
Remind us of your successful series in the Sony World Photography Awards. Why did you choose these images and what do they mean to you?
'Animals Behaviour' happened by coincidence. I came across some Sphynx cats at a show in Helsinki and new I had to do a shoot with them. So we ended up in the studio with some cats and the plan was to see what happens. It wasn't the easiest shoot as animals don't like to stay still for too long. I think the best shots in the series came by letting the cats do their thing and not trying to get them to pose with treats etc.
Do you have a photographic philosophy?
Produce projects that feel like your own.
What top tips would you give to budding portrait photographers?
Work hard. Do tests and attempt different styles. Try not to repeat yourself.
What has been your most memorable shoot or location?
I once did a commercial shoot where the plan was to have two executives of a big company nude for an ad. At the shoot, it came clear that one of them was not happy being nude so we had to find a body double for him and later add the executives head to the body. The only one about his size was the janitor of the building. He was fine posing nude but as soon as he took his clothes off we realised he was totally covered in tattoos. So I ended up removing tattoos before attaching a different head for the body. The end result came out nice but it was funny at the time.
Where in the world are you and what's next for you?
At the moment I'm working in Helsinki, Finland, in a shared studio with six other photographers. Autumn has been really busy and the same will continue until next year. Great projects with great people. Can't complain.