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Current Exhibition Artist Spotlight: Pentti Sammallahti


photo-eye Gallery Kindred Spirits Artist Spotlight: Pentti Sammallahti Pentti Sammallahti featured in photo-eye Gallery's current exhibition.By Alexandra Jo"Sammallahti’s commitment to openness, to the reception of inspiration, and to his photographic craft is unmatched. His works are simultaneously gentle and powerful: specifically composed, yet impactful in their relatability."
– Alexandra Jo
By Alexandra Jo

Pentti Sammallahti
The well-known maxim “not all who wander are lost” is most apt when thinking of Finnish photographer Pentti Sammallahti. A national treasure of Finland, Sammallahti is a self-proclaimed nomad and has spent the majority of his adult life traveling with his camera. Yet, when viewing his work, one gets the distinct feeling that Sammallahti is truly at home wherever he is photographing. He has a particular gift for connecting to his surroundings. As he searches for transcendent junctures, he is open, and fully present. He waits for instants in which the places and creatures of the world reveal themselves in moments of subtle splendor. photo-eye Gallery's current exhibition, Kindred Spirits, features a selection of Sammallahti's photographs.

Pentti Sammallahti, Babil, Iraq, 2004, Toned silver gelatin print, 2.5 x 3.5 inches, not editioned, $800

Sammallahti’s commitment to openness, to the reception of inspiration, and to his photographic craft is unmatched. His works are simultaneously gentle and powerful: specifically composed, yet impactful in their relatability. The captivating qualities of his visual content are emphasized further in his exquisite and stylistically distinct darkroom printing process. The strength of his visual compositions and sensitivity to processing his film show a complete mastery of both the conceptual and physical work involved in creating his art.



Pentti Sammallahti, Martinmere, England, 1996, Toned silver gelatin print, 5 x 14 inches, not editioned, $1,800


Pentti Sammallahti, Transylvania, Romania, 2015, Toned silver gelatin print, 8.5 x 6.5 inches, not editioned, $1,300

Behind all of this mastery, all of this vision, resides a humbleness of spirit that points to how one artist can be so sensitive and receptive to the myriad of sensations and scenes that he discovers in the world around him:

“Everything I've photographed exists regardless of me, my role is only to be receptive. The most important thing is the luck… behind every good image there is the good luck too.  Sometimes when you are in a right place in the right moment, you'll feel that the image is a gift and even that it doesn't matter who's behind the camera.”

Pentti Sammallahti, Untitled, 2005, Toned silver gelatin print, 7 x 6 inches, not editioned, $1,300




Pentti Sammallahti, Delhi, India, 1999, Toned silver gelatin print, 8.5 x 5 inches, not editioned, $1,300


And yet one could argue that it takes a specific, inherent artistic eye to see the way that Sammallahti does. There is an underlying unity in how he perceives things. A flock of delicate birds lifting into the air en mass, a comical confrontation between two ducks and a soccer ball, the languid grazing of cows through the landscape, all seem equally important to Sammallahti. In all of his wonderings and observations, it is this emphasis on the small things that connect us, these little moments of poetry and recognition across borders and cultures and species, which makes Sammallahti’s work so wonderful to me. His photographs have the capacity to teach viewers to look a little more closely, to be open and receive. That one can find rapture in the graceful curve of a flamingo’s neck, a crumple of waves, or a single sleeping cat, that we as humans do not have to look far for beauty and grace in the world, is a joyful message, and a crucial one.


All prices listed were current at the time this post was published.

For more information, and to purchase artworks, please contact photo-eye Gallery Staff at:
(505) 988-5152 x 202 or gallery@photoeye.com


• • • • •

On view through August 24, 2019

Featuring work by Keith Carter, David Deming, Pentti Sammallahti, and Maggie Taylor

All prices listed were current at the time this post was published. Prices will increase as editions sell. 




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