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    Image: 'Absent Minds' Renja Leino

    Renja Leino’s new series ‘Just Anybody’ was made in England last year while she was an Art Council England International Photography Research Fellow 2007 hosted by The Winchester Gallery and managed by Fotonet. Using a mobile phone camera she took thousands of photographs of people out and about in London and by the seaside. The presentation of these images demonstrates how this ‘little technological wonder’ has given everybody the opportunity to photograph anybody anywhere and use the images however they like.

    ‘I find myself going back to basics as a photographer to consider and study my professional ethics when facing the fact, that people everywhere take images like never before. I am questioning the motive when using images on other people even in artistic purpose. I push myself to study, where does the ethical limit go for my self. The mobile is like an observing eye. It is very quick to capture an image, unnoticed by most people. It can all be very innocent, fun to share moments etc, but I find the phenomena somehow unpleasant. When I am looking at the image of a strange face or family on my computer screen, I get a specific feeling that is related to guilt. Photography is complicated. We know that context is everything.’

    ‘Absent Minds’ is the title of the other series of photographs taken using a mobile phone. These photographs are studies of children looking at TV screens, very close, so you can see the screen reflected in their eyes. This series is being continuously extended, and it now includes children’s faces from several different European countries all staring at a screen entranced.

    ‘Fascination and frustration are some words to describe my feelings as a starting point to this series of photographs. For quite a long time I have been looking at people working by their computers, watching TV, playing PlayStation games. It is almost the same, a strange expression on their face when they are inside a world of their own; faces in foreign landscape. People are for sure physically present, but somehow their mind is absent. The phenomenon is global. No national borders exist when surfing abroad and around. My new work is a study on this phenomenon of our time. Digital media is filling our rooms and our minds: the question is, with what.’

    Renja Leino is an established Finnish artist, who has exhibited widely in Finland and Europe. From 1998-2004 she was the Head of the Department of Photography at the Turku Arts Academy, running one of the most respected photography courses in Finland.

    Artists Talk and Discussion: Wednesday 14. January 1.00pm, free


    The Winchester Gallery
    Park Avenue
    Winchester SO23 8DL
    T: + 00 44 (0) 1962 852500