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On View - Pentti Sammallahti

photo-eye Gallery On View - Pentti Sammallahti Delaney Hoffman
This week, we're featuring a selection of stunning silver gelatin prints from Pentti Sammallahti from our flat files. You can stop by the gallery to check them out or schedule a visit online! Read up and learn more about one of the most prolific artists at photo-eye here!
Pentti Sammallahti, Helsinki, Finland, 1973, Toned Silver-Gelatin Print, 4.5 x 7″, Not editioned, $1100

This week at photo-eye we are so excited to spotlight unique silver gelatin prints from Pentti Sammallahti that have been installed in our physical gallery space! All of these images are richly toned and formally stunning — and if you can’t swing by our Santa Fe gallery to see them, we can take you on a tour with a Virtual Visit sometime.

Pentti Sammallahti has made hundreds (but probably thousands) of photographs. This isn’t necessarily surprising, as the artist was first given a camera when he was just a small child, beginning to photograph seriously at nine years old shortly after viewing The Family of Man, the groundbreaking exhibition curated by Edward Steichen, in Helsinki in 1955.

The tradition of modernist photography from that era was incredibly influential to Pentti Sammallahti’s view on the role of the photographer, the negative and the print. In the tradition of photographers such as Josef Koudelka, Paul Strand and André Kertész, Sammallahti is concerned with what a photograph can reveal through simple, careful observation and attention to form. 

By focusing on interactions between characters, whether they be humans, birds, dogs, or some variation of the three, Sammallahti lets us, as an audience, witness the quiet but joyous moments that often go overlooked. This is the photographer’s concern: utilizing images as a tool for both connection and contemplation. However, the final image and its effectiveness are contingent upon proper attention paid during the printing process. Sammallahti’s oeuvre of darkroom works reveal parts of his process; some prints are toned to the point where they’re blue while others are rich and warm. The artist is cognizant of the ways that the final image will impact our perception of the scene, and so he prints for the impact that he desires.

Pentti Sammallahti, Paris, France, 2004, Toned Silver-Gelatin Print, 9.75 x 7″, $1600

Pentti Sammallahti’s images are imbued with a certain sense of tranquility, which is often referenced by critics and curators when speaking about his work. This element of peace doesn’t just come from the subject matter, always perfectly isolated within the frame, but from the attitude and intentions of the artist as well. Sammallahti’s goal is not to make the most “iconic” image, but rather to explore the things that photographs can communicate to us on a human level.

View some more prints on view below, and schedule a Virtual Visit or come by the gallery to check out the images on view!

Pentti Sammallahti, RTGA, Latvia, 1997, Silver-Gelatin Print, 4.8 x 4.8″, Not editioned, $1100

Pentti Sammallahti, Signilskar, Finland, 1974, Silver-Gelatin Print, 6.3 x 7.5″, Not editioned, $1300

Installation view of work from Pentti Sammallahti at photo-eye Gallery

Interested in seeing more of Pentti's work? Check out his most recent book, Me Kaksi, in our Bookstore when you stop in to see his prints!

Me Kaksi is the newest collection of images from Pentti Sammallahti's illustrious career that focuses in on the idea of the pair, the duo, the couple, as a necessary dynamic, whether that be for emotional reasons or a good laugh. 

>> Schedule a Virtual Visit to view Pentti Sammallahti's work! <<

>> Learn more about Pentti Sammallahti's origins in this interview with Anne Kelly <<


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Print costs are current up to the time of posting and are subject to change.

photo-eye Gallery is proud to represent Pentti Sammallahti.

For more information, and to purchase prints or books by Pentti Sammallahti, please contact Gallery Director Anne Kelly or Gallery Assistant Delaney Hoffman, or you may also call us at 505-988-5152 x202