JULY 23 - 29, 2023

Collaboration means four eyes, four hands,
four hearts, four minds. All for the price of two.

Collaborating with Nature is taught by esteemed Finnish photographers, Sanna Kannisto and Sandra Kantanen. The workshop entails an adventure with your camera and the natural, pristine wonders of the Finnish landscape in and around Paltaniemi with its resplendent pine and birch tree woodlands, ponds, vast lakeshores, and the region’s fauna, fish, and feathered residents therein. It all happens over the 24/7 day-to-night light of Finnish summer from its radiant daytime ambiance through the expressive, white night skies sure to outwit camera light meters big time.

“Photography is about observing, seeing, feeling, and thinking,” Kannisto and Kantanen remind us. “Personal narratives, conceptual art and science methods, traditions of still-life and landscape painting will be introduced and used as starting points for working strategies. Some will stage the landscape or just want to feel it. Others will experiment from chance, theoretical suppositions, or adopt a more playful approach. Climate change will surely capture everyone’s attention.”

Whichever pathway you decide to pursue, Sanna and Sandra will help guide and inspire you to achieve your goals in a personal, meaningful, and memorable way. 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.


Venturing into remote locations such as Latin-American rainforests to do my work, I often spend several months with scientists in research camps conducting my own artistically based explorations, witnessing natural phenomena such as rainfall, spider webs, bird calls, plant actions and reactions, even snake movements. Kannisto must also examine her own position in the field as a protagonist and observer charged with producing and interpreting the collected data. While I adopt the working methods of field science, my focus, nonetheless, is on the staged and artificial.

Sanna Kannisto has studied photography at Aalto University School of Art and Design in Helsinki where she lives. Two monographs have been published: Fieldwork, (Aperture, 2011) and Observing Eye (Hatje Cantz, 2020). In 2015, she was awarded the State Prize for Photographic Art in Finland. Her works have been exhibited in more than thirty countries around the world, including the Aperture Gallery in New York, Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Busan Museum of Art in South Korea, Fotomuseum in Wintherthur, Switzerland, the Kunsthalle Fridericianum in Kassel, Germany, Centro de la Imagen in Lima, Peru, and the Finnish Museum of Photography in Helsinki. Collections include: Centre Pompidou – Musée National d´Art Moderne and MEP, Maison européenne de la photographie in Paris, France; Fotomuseum Winterthur; and KIASMA, Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland.


I work mainly with landscape and visual questions concerning the nature of photography. As a photographer and artist, I am interested in researching the image, how we see things and construct them. In a recent series called Smokeworks , I have been photographing in a forest near my house in Hanko, Finland. I use colored smoke bombs to stage the landscape. The work surface is then manipulated with digital painting. The area where I have been photographing has been littered with landmines from the Russian occupation during the last war. It’s the memory of this landscape that I am drawn to investigate. All stages of reality—what was in front of the camera and the imitation of painting on the surface afterwards—can be seen as layers. The evidence of painting is in the picture to emphasize the surface. Ever since the invention of photography, the art debate has centered on these two art forms. I am interested in what happens when you put them together in a concrete manner.

Sandra Kantanen lives and works in Hanko where she photographs mainly nature and landscapes. She graduated with an MA in Photography from Aalto University of Art and Design in Helsinki in 2003. Major collections abroad include the J. Paul Getty Museum; LACMA Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Brooklyn Museum; Fondazione Fotografia Modena, Italy; the Olorvisual Collection, Barcelona, Spain; and the Museum of Photography in Seoul, Korea. In Finland her work is part of the collections of KIASMA Museum of Contemporary Art; HAM Helsinki City Art Museum; EMMA Espoo Museum of Modern Art; Tampere Art Museum; Keravan Taidemuseo; the Wihuri Foundation in Rovaniemi; the Pro Artibus Foundation; the National Gallery, State Art Collection, and the Parliament of Finland. Sandra Kantanen has published two monographs with Hatje Cantz: Landscapes (2009) and More Landscapes (2019).


© Sanna Kannisto


© Sandra Kantanen