Photography as Cinema

July 09 - 15, 2023

Every photograph is a movie. 
You just have to look at it long enough.

Every moment has a past, present, and future. With photography we only get the present. Or can we have it all? Is he just an exhausted Madison Avenue copywriter dreaming up headlines in his sleep? Or did he just say something horrible, that can never be taken back? Or are they just two commuters riding the rails of their own streams of consciousness? Will he say “Good night” if he’s first to leave? Or will she say, “Screw you!” when he wakes up? Or if she’s first to leave, will she need to tap him on the shoulder? Looking at photographs long enough enables all sorts of possibilities. In this workshop, we will be creating storylines housed inside single pictures with the aim of building a consistent way of seeing. Will you be focusing on details to tell universal truths? Or creating dramatic tension by excluding vital information? Or looking for Edward Hopper loners at the end of long empty bars? You don’t have to be an Alfred Hitchcock, Jane Campion, or Martin Scorsese to know the power of a single photograph. When there’s a story to tell, a single photograph can dim the lights and part those iconic red velvet curtains just like that. Join us and let them open to your way of seeing the world through Photography as Cinema. No popcorn. Just a lot of astonishing stories and awesome reviews.

Wrap-up Friday will be a celebration of individual achievements and collective energies through an exhibition/slide show, also open to the Paltaniemi and greater Kajaani public.


A simple credo drives my work: Make it different, keep it the same. Working primarily alone, my camera is the photographer. No one sees the picture at the moment of exposure, not even my own eye, or eyes depending on the viewing screen. I make myself the subject of the photograph so no one else comes in harm’s way. Refusing manipulation allows me to collaborate with reality and call myself a documentary photographer. Being without clothes instills timelessness and creates an equation that declares we are all but a part of nature. Image locations by now number some thirty countries around the world from Athens to Zagreb and thirty American States from Florida to Alaska, Arizona to Maine. 1970 to tomorrow, it’s been that way for over two hundred seasons and still counting.

So where does cinema enter the picture, other than Fellini’s 8½? Kimmo and I have always wanted to make a feature film and intend to deliver on that promise in the not-too-distant future now. I’m the writer/director. He’s the cinematographer. Enough said, for now.
Joku Toinen? That’s another story.

Arno Rafael Minkkinen is a Finnish American photographer and former Madison Avenue copywriter. He holds an MFA in Photography from Rhode Island School of Design, studying there with Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. Seven monographs have been published. The latest, titled Minkkinen, won the German Photo Book Prize in Gold in 2019, a special Jury Award followed from the Finnish Photo Book Award committee a year later. Among other awards, four stand out: the Lucie Award for Fine Art Achievement presented by Scott Landis and Sally Mann at Carnegie Hall in 2013; a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 2015; the Pro Finlandia medal bestowed on the Centennial of Finnish Independence in 2017; the Honored Educator Award from the Society for Photographic Education presented in Cleveland not far from the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.


Portrait by Chehalis Hegner

© Arno Rafael Minkkinen