For over 45 years, Arno Rafael Minkkinen has focused his work on the nude self-portrait as a primary vehicle for expressing the human condition through images made in natural and urban landscapes. His photographs are based on the reality before the lens—photography at its purest—setting aperture and squeezing a shutter bulb or other self-timer device to fire the camera. Using himself as subject—so no one else comes in harm’s way—he captures the beauty of being part of something bigger and more permanent than one’s own naked self. Minkkinen was born in Helsinki, Finland, in 1945 and immigrated to the United States in 1951. A Wagner College graduate, he began taking self-portraits in 1970 while working as an advertising copywriter on Madison Avenue. An MFA degree soon followed studying with Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind at Rhode Island School of Design. Today an Emeritus Professor of Art at UMass Lowell and Docent at Aalto Univer sity in Helsinki, Minkkinen has also served as an international curator and essayist.
Published and exhibited worldwide, Minkkinen’s work can be found in over 75 prominent museum and institutional collections such as the Centre Pompidou and the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki, and the Moderna Museet in Stockholm.
Minkkinen received the Finnish State Art Prize in Photography in 2006, the Lucie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Fine Art in 2013, and a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 2015.