Here Far Way - Pentti Sammallahti

blogEntryTopperI must admit that I was not aware of the photography of Pentti Sammallahti until early last year (2012) when I noticed this book 'Here Far Away' listed in photo-eye's book store. They say you cannot judge a book by the cover but in the case of photographers’ books I'm not so sure. Certainly the cover image drew me in and the useful ‘BookTease' sample on the photo-eye site was enough for me to send off a pre order.


This Finnish photographer, born in 1950, took to photography early in life. 'Here Far Away' is a beautiful retrospective book of his work over a 40 year period, and includes a photo taken when he was just 14 years old. The book is divided into 9 chapters, each a record of his travels in Finland, Norway, Ireland, England, and many other European countries. He also spent some time in India, China and Africa.


All the work is in black and white, his medium of choice. He does all his own printing and relishes the technical demands that fine printing requires. Cartier-Bresson was a great admirer of his but unlike Bresson who never strayed from the 35mm format (3:2) frame, Sammallahti uses, square, 3:2, 4:5 and various panoramic frames for his work.



Subtlety of tone characterise Sammallahti’s prints giving them a quiet nature. His work is lyrical, poetic and sometimes humorous. His photos strive to show a transcendent quality in the ordinary. They come from a deep observation and immersion in the landscape and express themselves in a quiet way.



He has a sensitivity to the animal world and many of his photos features dogs, cats, horses, sheep, oxen and a large variety of birds. Two photos feature the common house fly.




The book is beautifully printed and has excellent binding.This first edition published by Dewi Lewis quickly sold out but I expect a second edition to be available later this Summer. Price €45 approx.


Here Far Away was for me the highlight book of 2012. I cannot recommend it too highly.
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