OD Photo Prize 2021 | Shortlisted Artist
Mikael Siirilä (b. 1978) is a darkroom artist in Helsinki, Finland. Mikael learned the darkroom process early on in his childhood in an art-loving family. Since then photography has remained a persistent sideline in his life until taking a more important role in the 2010s. At the turn of the millennium, Mikael was among the early adopters of digital photography. His enthusiastic foray into pixels and post-processing almost suffocated the passion entirely. That changed in 2010 when Mikael began documenting the time of pregnancy leading to the birth of his daughter; this time on black and white film. Film seemed like the more intimate medium for capturing a life-changing time, and the final work felt meaningful and permanent. Over the next few years, Mikael first assembled a darkroom at home and then ambitiously in a dedicated basement space. He focused on cultivating his expression while developing practical skills in printmaking. Eventually, Mikael joined the international AllFormat Collective and found friendship and support from like-minded artists. Recently his work has found a growing audience on Instagram. Mikael has a reductionist and philosophical approach to photography. Two decades of work in graphic and web design are apparent in his compositions. His fragmented images are all observations from his life yet void of narrative or context. His work revolves introspectively around themes such as outsiderhood, absence and presence.
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