From my first glance, I was intrigued by Aleksi’s work. There was something humorous, but also mysterious, spontaneous and deep in his images. Without offering much explanation, he defined the work simply as showing the “special relationship between Finnish people and animals.” I felt it offered a much more universal meaning. The soft, subtle tones of the images; the unusual scenarios (candid or staged, we do not know); the profound silence in them…all these elements spoke to me immediately, offering a view into a quiet, serene, peaceful world which I felt I wanted to be part of.

—Arianna Rinaldo, Artistic Director of Cortona on the Move

Finland experienced exceptionally fast migration from its rural areas to cities during the 1960s. Urban life developed very rapidly, over the course of just ten years. And yet Finnish people continue to have a special relationship with nature—animals in particular.

Prior to this urban explosion, people were used to sharing their everyday lives with domesticated animals at home and wild animals in the nearby forest. Despite the change in lifestyle, Finns have preserved a unique relationship with their animal friends.

In this series, you can get a glimpse of the unique coexistence between humans and animals in my home country. In particular, I focus on Markku, who lives with his wild moose named Mervi; Mia with the dozen chickens in her office; Inga, who welcomes her alpaca to chill out in her bedroom, and several others.

—Aleksi Poutanen

This project was singled out by Arianna Rinaldo as her juror’s pick from the Emerging Talent Awards 2017. Discover all eight of the jurors’ picks plus the other inspiring projects from this year’s 50 talents!