Arno's Naked Condition

For over 45 years, Finnish Photographer Arno Rafael Minkkinen has expressed the human condition through portraits of his own naked self. His most recent exhibition, Floating in the Air, can now be seen at WILLAS Contemporary Gallery in Oslo.

Working as an ad-copywriter in the late Mad Men era of the '70s, on the Mad Men street of Madison Avenue in New York, Finnish immigrant Arno fell into photography by chance as he stumbled over inspiration through his own work.

As a young copywriter—aspiring to be a novelist—working with Minolta Cameras, he wrote the sentence What happens inside your mind, happens inside the camera. This sentence not only altered his path in the search for his own voice, but as Arno asserted in an interview with Lens Culture; «I believed in that». Through this belief, his fascination for photography eventually became his profession. 

Arno's work has been widely acclaimed by both the photographic and the art world alike. For over 45 years, Arno has focused his work on the nude self-portrait as a primary vehicle for expressing the human condition. Set in urban and natural landscapes, his black and white photographs are based on the reality before the lens and, by using himself, he aims to capture the beauty of being part of something bigger and more permanent than one’s own naked self.

His work can be found in over 75 museums and institutional collections, and the photographer was awarded the Finnish State Art Prize in Photography in 2006, the Lucie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Fine Art in 2013, and a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 2015.

Floating in the Air can be seen at WILLAS Contemporary Gallery until the end of May.

PhotographyMarkus Støle