Tommi Pirnes was born in the summer of 1978 in the town of Kemi, Northern Finland. He took his first photographs at the age of 5 with his mothers "Coca-Cola camera" which was actually Agfas Iso- Rapid I F, a camera that she had acquired in 1966 by collecting twenty Coca-Cola-bottle caps and paying the sixteen finnish mark postage.

But it was only after many years when he took the photograph "The cat and the vine" on one hot august evening in the little island of Skiathos, Greece, he realised: "I remember looking at the print back home, and it was a bit like looking at someone elses photograph. You know? Yet it was mine, so I thought, maybe I should try and make another one."

He decided to buy a proper camera shortly after that holiday in Greece and went on to buy his trusty mechanical Leica, at the age 23. It seemed that he had found himself a partner for his before somewhat headless adventures...

"I'm interested in the truth in photography, as in my mind the soul of photography lies in it's strong link to reality. And it is specifically this link that grants photography it's special place and power among other visual arts. This is also the reason why I'm using a mechanical film camera and I do my own printing. Now in the days of Photoshop, people are sometimes having a hard time believing what they are seeing."

About his influences he says: "I have learned from the best. William Klein, Koudelka, Cartier-Bresson and Boubat to name a few, have tought me everything I know through their photographs - and it seems that I have photography in my blood. Both sides of my family have had amateur photographers. Some already at the turn of the 20th century."

When he was asked to describe himself as a photographer, he replied: "Well, I see myself as a nature photographer, only my subjects happen to be human beings..."


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