Tiina Törmänen’s Wanderer is About Exploring the Openness of Nature

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All images by Tiina Törmänen. Used with permission.

Tiina Törmänen is Finnish landscape photographer who’s built up a reputation of hard work and a keen eye. We discovered her work on Behance and fell in love with a specific project of hers called Wanderer. To do this project, she spent time working at a hotel as a chef and during her free time, she went out to photograph in the frigid winter when no one was around.

The series is more about emphasizing how small we are in nature, and not about thinking too hard about it all.

Phoblographer: Talk to us about how you got into photography.

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Tina: When I was 17 (1998) and saw work from Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson. I was totally blown away and after that took black and white photography courses and bought a Nikon FE. Since 1998 I’ve shot daily life around until 2007. Now, I mostly photograph people related documentary and some experimental stuff in Helsinki.

In the early 2000s, I tried get into art schools three years in a row but they did not let me in. It was the only option to progress in the field in the pre-digital era. I worked for a few years at a commercial photography studio assistant. I was not really interested in fashion itself, but it was great experience.

I continued working as a chef in different restaurants and worked one year in an Apple store too.

Phoblographer: What got you into landscape photography specifically?

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Tina: In 2011 I moved back north from southern Finland where I lived for 14 years. I went to work in a ski resort for a winter season and that is when I started shooting again after a break for a few years. The first and second winter was not big deal but some of my work ended up going viral on the Daily Mail. I was not ready for that kind of attention at all, but I was thinking I should continue with landscapes if my very first photos ended up becoming viral content.

After 2013 I have been shooting more seriously and developed my processing skills and style itself. I have made huge progress in few years. But in the end I have been taking photos since 1998 so my style of taking pictures has developed on the way and now I have just turned it into nature and landscapes.

Phoblographer: Let’s talk about the inspiration behind the Wanderer. It’s a series of photos featuring a sole person alone and out in the middle of nowhere with an awesome scene. What inspired this series and made you choose the locations? Was there a careful selection process or storyboarding involved?

Tina: I wanted to shoot night sky images in this area. Not many have done that, so last winter, I moved myself to Kilpisjärvi to work as chef in one hotel. This way, it gave me more time to be in the area. When you spend more time in one place, you have more from it.

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I was there for two months. The area is wide open space as far as the eyes can see, so the night sky itself was boring–so I went into pictures to give a scale of the place itself.

Before I went there I bought own snowmobile a few months earlier and learned to ride it. Distances there are so long, after work going with only skis would be an impossible task. The photos are taking about 10-35 km from the nearest village / road.

Phoblographer: Every photographer and artist tries to creatively express themselves with their work. So what are you trying to get across with this series?

Tina: I don’t really think about it too much. I think it’s more about the beauty of life itself and how small we are–how much people worry and live fear, but we have this other reality too.

Phoblographer: Talk to us about the gear that you use.

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Tina: Canon 5D, Samyang 14mm f2.8 and 24-70mm f 2.8 I L is used in the series. I’ve also got an old but good Manfrotto tripod from late 90’s and Lynx x-trim 600 ace 2013 snowmobile .

Phoblographer: What do you want to do with this series? A gallery? A book?

Tina: Not sure yet, some exhibition at some point but I want to have it with large prints like 100cm wide at least so it’s quite expensive, I think exhibition will be more than this series. Book would be also great but I think it would be also more than these photos.

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