My pictures are studies of feeling and composition.

In my practice, I play with sunlight in a painterly way—I explore how light acts on a surface like a tangible material, like paint on a brush. The camera then captures this interaction; the photograph is the canvas.

This collection of images is about the photographic gesture: observing, recording and storing light. By showing simple materials and geometric forms that border on pure abstraction, I aim to direct the viewer’s attention towards the color and intensity of light rather than what is actually shown in the image.

Arrangement III (black & light green) © Maija Annikki Savolainen,
Winner, LensCulture Emerging Talent Awards 2017

This series of images was created using different kinds of paper, thin threads and natural sunlight. I used white paper as a reference to an empty canvas; these images connect the act of photography to the history of painting and drawing. I also use the paper as a practical means of marking the position and nature of light itself. The thin threads that stretch through the frame roughly demarcate areas of light and shadow. Together, all of these elements create rhythms and the illusion of depth on the flat surface of each photograph.

—Maija Savolainen

This project was singled out by the jury of the Emerging Talent Awards 2017. Discover all of the inspiring projects from this year’s 50 talents!