In the second episode of the documentary series “Young European Photographers,” we meet Finnish artist Sari Soininen and her psychedelic perception of the world, deep in the forests of her childhood.
She follows her mistress like a shadow and her wild expression is one of the photographer’s most beautiful shots. Sari Soininen’s little dog sees us coming from afar, wags her tail, starts barking, and then jumps on us. We meet up with the photographer in a cafe on the banks of the Aura, in Turku.
The young artist has just returned to her hometown, on the west coast of Finland, after spending three years in Bristol studying photography. There, she developed the series “Transcendent Country of The Mind” like an exorcism, like a vital momentum. “In my early twenties, I experimented with very high doses of LSD, and ended up having a psychotic episode, which had a huge impact on my life and the way I perceive the world and reality” she says bluntly, shedding light on what influenced the disturbing strangeness of her photos, recently exhibited at the Circulation(s) festival and in the Paris metro.
“As far as I’m concerned, photography functions as therapy,” she says, and we infer that she was able to recover from her ordeal and sublimate her anguish thanks to her art.
As it does every year at this time, the snow has given way to vegetation hesitating between brown and green. There are still blocks of ice on the surface of the lakes, but the pines have regained their density and life is taking over. These vertical forests into which she takes us are places that Sari has been exploring since her early childhood.
Places that are literally magical, the cradle of a pagan culture that the young photographer is currently revisiting with her new project, Shallow waters, misty waves. “In Finland, paganism is still present, it takes on many forms,” she explains.
In her portraits of mystical animals, faceless humans, and dreamlike landscapes, there is an ancestral force specific to civilizations that sanctify nature. This is where Sari Soininen takes us.
The film Young European Photographers, Episode 2: Sari (Finland) was shot in May 2022 in Turku, Helsinki and Kirkkonummi. It was produced by Blind Magazine and Phantastica Pictures, and directed by Charlotte Jean and Quentin Molinié.