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Marjaana Kella
Marjaana Kella

Marjaana Kella

Marjaana Kella
Marjaana Kella
Van Zoetendaal Publishers

220 x 280 mm
48 pages
ISBN 9075574223



Marjaana Kella’s book investigates the nature of photographic portraiture: how–or–if the photograph’s description of surface physiognomy tells us anything of interior character and psychology. Of course we form judgements about people from their visual appearance, but when we meet them we also have the benefit of the way they move and speak. So what advantage doe the photograph give us?

As Kella writes: ‘A photograph is dumb and still. That’s why we can observe what’s on display on a very special way.’ The photograph’s very stillness is a vital factor, affording usthe chanceto scrutinize a suspended moment with great intensity. Furthermore, the concentration on surfaceleaves room for our interpretive imagination to work. And yet the quality of stasis in a photograph is not always the same, as Kella’s fascinating book demonstrates.

She shows two bodies of work here, one a series of studies of backs of heads, the other portraits of people in hypnotice trance. The difference is instructive. The rear-view portraits are totally still, frozen, almost wholly non-gestural. We are compelled to observe shape and texture in the most minute detail. The hypnosis portraits are also still, but not frozen in quite the same way. A sense of movement, of facial expression and bodily gesture remains. However, the gestures are not ‘normal’ and we are left searching for clues on the surface to formulate our reading. What emerges is an erudite and compelling demonstration of the enigma that is photography.


About the Artist
Marjaana Kella is an internationally renowned photographer whose work has been exhibited in numerous Finnish and international solo and group exhibitions. Kella’s works can be found, for example, in the collections of Kiasma and the Finnish Museum of Photography. Kella defended her doctoral thesis at Aalto University in 2014. Her dissertation was entitled Turnarounds: Landscapes, Faces and Representation in Photography.

About the Publisher

Van Zoetendaal Publishers was founded by Willem van Zoetendaal (born The Hague, 1950). He is a graphic designer who has been producing photography books since the early nineties. In 1994 he started publishing his own books, first under the name of Basalt (in collaboration with Frido Troost) and then under the name of Van Zoetendaal Publishers.

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