Northern Finnish documentary photographer Jaako Heikkilä (born in 1956) is primarily interested in minorities that dwell in the shadow of dominant cultures, ignored or forgotten. Searching for the cultural roots of this very people, Jaako has travelled many countries with his panorama camera. He shows Armenians who live in their home country or in Diasporas in Los Angeles or Venice.
More photo series were created in the north of Sweden, the north of Russia, eastern Serbia, New York and Brazil. The pictures tell of war, fleeing, migration and the survival in strange lands.
Jaakko Heikkilä has the talent of approaching people, overcoming all the potential hurdles of language and communicate with them. Very gingerly, with lots of time and patience, he observes the people in their natural habitat, through their everyday life, living alongside them, until they open up the gates to their thoughts and feelings for him and the right moment comes to release the shutter.
In the poetic snapshots, which appear timeless at the same time, we can see the protagonists going about their daily business or deep in thought or with a stern look directed at the camera. Their habitat as well as the clever application of light plays an important role in the project.
The retrospective exhibition 'Silent Talks. Photographs by Jaakko Heikkilä', which was conceived in cooperation with the Finnish museum for photography (Helsinki), will be running until the 13th of November 2011 at Stadtgalerie Kiel. The exhibition comprises 70 works taken from seven core series by the photographer. In 2005, Jaakko Heikkilä represented Finland during the Biennale in Venice and in 2007; he was awarded the national Finnish award for photography art. A comprehensive catalogue published by Kehrer Verlag accompanies the exhibition.