Pentti Sammallahti is one of the most celebrated internationally accomplished photographers to ever emerge out of the Nordic region. He has been a professor, mentor, and inspirational force, as the gray eminence that lies behind the Helsinki School and the numerous artists who have evolved from it. He is a master on every level of the photographic process. Beginning with his images themselves, his photographs feel lyrical in their compositions. His chosen subjects, whether it is an animal, tree, or man, all seem to move totally unassumingly within the frame of the image. In this regard, Sammallahti states: "My photographs are not taken, but given to me.” As a master printer he uses his darkroom as his palette for selecting his tones within his black-and-white format. His photographs feel as if they were alive, as if they vibrate with a vitality that can’t be merely chemically induced, but rather emotionally conceived. Sammallahti has traveled the world, tasting its wonders and sharing them with an artistic passion that combines humor and beauty with the flavor of the ordinary. His career spans more than fifty years and he sees himself as more of a receptacle, absorbing the everyday and skillfully recording its preciousness, as well as acknowledging the luck it takes to be in the right place at the right time. Sammallahti’s photographs reflect a life commitment to finding the balance within nature not as an outside observer, but as a voyager within. His photographs contain the essence of what photography is truly about: timing, light, and capturing the magic of the moment.
Pentti Sammallahti was born in 1950 in Helsinki, Finland.