oona ristola photography interview

Oona Ristola’s snaps would not look out of place in a fairytale storybook. From deep in the depths of Finland the shutterbug creates images so lovely that you’d half expect to see a pixie or impish creature dash across the scene. So far that hasn’t happened, but when the alternative is curling leaves, fields of icy flowers and rich red farmhouses, it’s really a bit of a win-win.

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What is your name and how old are you? My name is Oona Julia Ristola and I’m 21 years old.

Where were you born and where do you live now? I was born in a South Finland town called Kouvola and I still live in this city but I’m not going to live here forever.

When did you first know you wanted to be a photographer? It was six years ago when I started to shoot but something happened a year ago and I started to take this more seriously. I realised that I have something to give. Something to show.

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What areas, things or people in your neighbourhood do you most like to photograph? I like taking pictures in nature when it is a bit cloudy, but sun is still shining with its special light. And also I like taking self portraits and to immortalise still life moments like letters and treasures that I find from our forests.

What do you shoot on (digital or analogue) and why do you choose to use that type? I use digital. For me it isn’t about the camera but passion. To have these ideas in my head and know how to make them real.

Is there a certain camera or type of film that you wish you could own? I’ve been thinking about analogue cameras and what I could create with one of those. So maybe some kind of analoueg camera, I guess.

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Is there a running theme to the work you create, or do you just make whatever comes to mind? Mostly whatever comes to my mind. But I also have these ideas when I have certain picture in my mind that demand perfect weather, lighting and time. Running themes: nature, still life, details and me.

Do you take the same care with personal photographs as you do with commercial/artistic work? Yes, if I do work for someone else I listen carefully to what they want and do that with my own twist. I’m good at listening.

What advice can you offer on finding your personal style or aesthetic? Shoot everything. Try different things and ways to create. Don’t give up because sometimes it takes time to find your own style.

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What are the hallmarks of a great photographer? Vision. Knowing what you want to create. Showing your personality to your photography.

What are your thoughts on the rise of mobile phone photography and Instagram? I think Instagram is such a great community when you find the right people to have around you. I think that mobile photographs are okay if they look good but I have to say that I like more photographs that are taken with “real” cameras. They have deeper emotions to see.

What other photographers do you love? I like Elina Brotherus’s photographs. I find inspiration more from books and the things I see around me.

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Where can we see more of your work? On my blog, tumblr and Instagram @oonajuliar.


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