Kristian Kaarna is a European photographer from Finland who feels at home anywhere in the world. Having lived and studied in international capital cities (Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Brussels, Milan, Hong Kong, Helsinki ), he now spends most of his time in the quiet of the Spanish countryside enjoying the beauty of nature.
What does photography mean for me?
"Photography is finding beauty in everyday life. It is to get to know the subject. It is detail in a natural wonder of the world or person in front of the camera. Photography is the art of observation. It is all about finding something interesting in nature or in human faces.
I have found that photography has only a little to do with the reality we see. It has everything to do with the way I see people or the world. Beauty can be seen in all things. It is seeing and composing that separates the snapshot from the photograph.
I am observing all the time interesting moments and I want to catch the magic on film before the instant passes. I enjoy shooting film or sometimes digital, depending on the photograph’s purpose. I use digital photography to create a diary of the things I see but most of all I like working with film.
I love analogue photography because it allows me to capture meaningful moments. With this traditional method, I have the power to control the whole process from beginning to end. I like to select the film, find the way of working, have a clear thought beforehand, observe the light and finally create the magic in the darkroom."
How it all began?
Since he was a child Kristian Kaarna has dreamed of living abroad. In 1989 he left Finland for Paris to study French language and culture. He was impressed and fascinated by the dynamism, culture, diversity and lifestyle of Parisians. He felt immediately at home in this big, wondrous city. A new circle of friends introduced him to museums, galleries, cafes, restaurants, shops and the night life. Through the beautiful French language and music, a new world opened up for the young man.
In 1993 Kristian started his journey in photography. He went to study at the classical photography school MJM in Paris, where he learned analogue black and white film photography and darkroom laboratory work. The magic won him over! He then studied modern techniques in Paris’s most advanced photography school, SPEOS, and became one of the first photographers studying digital processes which has changed the whole world.
Since 2011, Kristian has exhibited his landscape photographs in numerous galleries and museums across Europe, including Nelimarkka Museum and TR1 Modern Art Museum. He has also participated in numerous EU-sponsored programs. In 2017, Finland's Prime Minister's Office partnered with Kristian's "Under the Blue Sky" project for Finland’s 2017 Centennial Year of Independence.
In the commercial world, he has worked in the fashion industry with top models Caroline Bittencourt, Bimba Bosé, Nastasia Urbano, Barbara Guillaume and Jean-Baptiste to name a few.
Now he lives and works in Axarquía next to the soaring mountain peaks in Andalucía in southern Spain. There he combines his own photography studio and black and white laboratory with the inspiring landscape to create beautiful, new images. Photography is Kristian’s lifelong passion and this is reflected in the images he produces.