Lakes, forests and raw material gave way to take aways, beaches and niggas. When some time ago the Finnish photographer Osma Harvilahti moved to America, he found himself in a dense, organic, but full of contrasts scenery that blew his mind away at first sight. Today, a wee bit more expressionistic and noticeably more acknowledged, he is developing into a brand new environment for him holding on to the constants that made him from the very beginning stand out- one of which is the undisturbed silence that his photos exude and talks about the joy of being a ‘beginner’.
How would you describe the character of your photos?
I never stop searching for colours and shapes, but I don’t want to stick to the commonplace. I shoot whatever I like.
When did you start messing around with photography?
Until the age of sixteen I was basically on music. At the age of sixteen I was focused on drinking beer and chasing chicks. A few years later I starting feeling somehow empty and I accidentally started with photography. Since then I have gone through many stylistic phases but I would say that with the passing of time I become less dramatic and simultaneously more static.
Some time ago you moved from Finland to New York. I imagine that you had to cope with a completely different environment in structural and cultural terms. Which was the result of all this change of scenery?
The nature and the forests of Finland used to be my passion, but now I am more fascinated by densely populated civilisations and urban sceneries. I find it very important to be able to adjust to your surroundings. I was glad leaving behind all those idyllic sceneries. Not to mention the people who profoundly influenced me in the city.
We often see photographers with specific ‘obsessions’ as regards perspective, subject etc. Do you have any?
In fact yes…it is hard to explain how this happens to me exactly. Let’s say that in Finland I have an obsession and in New York I have a different one. In New York there is such a diversity of nationalities and buildings… Generally, I haven’t changed the way I see things and I never stop searching for something that will blow my mind away.
Aside from photographer, you have also worked as a director in short music films. According to your opinion, which is the main divergence between those two?
Oh, they are really different. The main issue when you deal with a moving subject is where a moment/feeling/story starts and where (as well as how) it ends. You don’t make a static picture which ideally would freeze exactly what you want to convey- in this case you have to do with movement. I can’t wait to work more on videos before I present my new work.
Do you feel as a beginner?
Yes, I feel that I’m at square one- but I still have no idea of what exactly. The beginning hides beauty with all this curiosity and passion. I don’t want to lose this feeling no matter how long I work and learn. You are in the end only when you start to create again, and this is when you realise that you are a beginner again!
Interview: Joanna Papazoglou/source: OZON Raw is#97