“And you know what, it’s true what they say, we float here and you will float too, in fact everyone will float! Everyone! Everyone will float!!!”
Stephen King, “It”
In his most recent photographic project, Aapo Huhta creates a path through which he questions the habits of photographic representation and narration, creating photographic images that, in black and white and characterised by an austere chromatic contrast, are endowed with a depth and darkness that can reorganise and disorientate both the spectator’s gaze and the subjects represented.
The bodies portrayed inhabit a photographic space that is other, different, unprecedented and suspended. An unfathomable space that interacts with the subjects, deforming their appearance and rethinking their perception. An effect produced by the author through the manipulation of photographic matter, which far from being merely technical expression, becomes palpable expression and in some way landscape, place, imaginary.
The nocturnal character of the images, the rarefied atmospheres, never fully defined in their totality, see the bodies of human figures emerge from space, figures immersed in a milky mist or enveloped in a veil of cosmic radiation, manifesting an extraordinary duality that makes them simultaneously corporeal and evanescent, bodies characterised by a painful intensity, found in a timeless space, tending to infinity, the presence or visual echo of an alternative dimension.
By deconstructing the figurative photographic tradition and its narrative conventions, Aapo Huhta undermines the very three-dimensionality of representation. Using analogue procedures and methodologies, the author creates works that deform space and time in a manner that borders on the grotesque and the phantasmagorical. The deformation of human contours expresses a sense of urgent relevance; these beings, these vibrant forms seemingly heading for collapse, elude all definition and category. Time and space are suspended, the figure trapped, floating in an impossible place, darkness everywhere holds, deforms, suspends.
In Aapo Huhta’s work, the observer is not guided, is not instructed, is not made to participate in any narrative, the observer is simply brought into contact, brought before the image, brought before a presence and its existential mystery, its levitation in photographic space. The Gravity series represents a significant step along the path of Huhta’s existential investigation. His artistic work has consistently explored the relationship between man and the surrounding space, evolving over the years from a more classical use of the photographic medium to an increasing level of abstraction and linguistic emancipation.
Gravity is a work with a complex outcome, a collection of images that seem to reveal themselves beyond an eyelid of shadow, whose subjects are suspended just beyond the imaginary horizon of an impenetrable space, a limbo in which both matter and concepts alter to the point of distortion and collapse. The disintegration of the body is exposed in all its terrifying beauty, defying the conventions of body representation. In the end, in the infinity of Gravity‘s space, hints emerge of what lies beyond loss, the end of the journey revealed as a barren landscape and precisely by virtue of its suspension, peaceful. May the term be sweet?
Aapo Huhta (born in 1985) is a photographic artist living in Helsinki.
Huhta combines elements of documentary practice and experimental darkroom techniques with subjective, mundane observations, building a range of ambiguous and often fragmented narratives in his work. Exploring different forms of photographic narratives, methods, and possibilities plays a significant role in his work. The exploration has culminated in three photobooks, Block (Kehrer Verlag, 2015), Omatandangole (Kehrer Verlag, 2019) and Gravity (Kult Books, 2023).
In 2014, Magnum Photos selected Huhta as one of the Top 30 Under 30 photographers. He received the award of the Young Nordic Photographer of the Year, by Fotografiska, in 2015 and was chosen for the Joop Swart Masterclass in 2016. He was named Young Artist of the Year 2020 in Finland.
Huhta is also known for his freelance assignment works. His work has been published in Vice, The Guardian/The Observer, Bloomberg Businessweek, Stern, The Washington Post, Financial Times, Die Zeit Magazine, Dazed Digital, Morgenbladet, Paper Journal, Fotografia Magazine, Suomen Kuvalehti, Image and Helsingin Sanomat among others.