Archiv für den Autor: Joni Karanka

Über Joni Karanka

I was born in Helsinki (Finland) in 1981 to Finnish parents, but when I was four years old I moved to Malaga (Spain). That’s where I started photographing with my father when I was about six years old. I worked as a freelance photographer for a number of newspapers and magazines in the South of Spain (Ole Magazine, Diario El Sur) from the age of eight or nine until I was about 14. A front cover and a couple of reportage photos in a single month’s issue were the peak of my career. At 14 I retired from photography for the first time. I studied Psychology in Malaga followed by a PhD in Visual Perception in Cardiff (Wales). That takes me to the year 2004. 
During my PhD I retook photography (these things go in 12-15 year cycles as most love-hate relationships). I became very involved in photography on Flickr (HCSP still runs the Self-Promotion thread I started in 2008), which somehow led me to a sideshow in Arles and curating the work of others. I met other photographers in Cardiff, which became a bit of a hotspot. Many of these guys were great. My first experiment was Dr Karanka’s Print Stravaganza; a travelling exhibition in a box that made it around most of the world but not yet back to Cardiff. 
In 2010 I opened Third Floor Gallery in Cardiff with Maciej Dakowicz and Bartosz Nowicki. Both are great, hardworking photographers. We cared a lot about photography but not much about anything else. We learnt quickly about fundraising, PR and hanging shows. The gallery led us to put some incredible exhibitions together, which will allow me to die with the knowledge that I have exhibited a joint The Last Resort between Martin Parr and Tom Wood, as well as Mark Cohen’s Grim Street. 
Since 2014 I have again been drifting into retirement. I like brewing beer, gardening and the TV series ‘Plebs’. I’m not yet 35.

The end, the beginning, the end

My time us up. I’m unlikely to write until May. By then I won’t be in this blog.

I learnt photography from my dad. He was in the military, and carried a camera with him to Kashmir, Golan, and other similar places in the 1960s and 1970s. I remember photographing when I was six years old. Two of the cameras I used then are ones that I still have (and used till recently): Asahi Pentax Spotmatic, a reflex camera from the 60s, and Olympus XA, a compact camera from the 80s. I remember getting the XA as a camera I could handle easily when I was small. I also remember carrying a light meter when I was seven or eight.

The one thing about photography back then was that it was not available to everyone. Having some relatively fine piece of kit and a light meter did give you an advantage. With my dad we photographed quite a few local events in the South of Spain. Soon we started selling photographs to local magazines. At times I don’t know where my photographs end and his start, or vice versa. The only problem was that it soon became a job. I didn’t see at the time any means of personal expression in photography. It was mainly about getting a picture to set the scene, couple of portraits, maybe a landscape. In hindsight, I think the archives at my mum’s flat in Spain must have interesting photographs from a time when the South of Spain was moving from the 1980s to the 1990s. Things changed a lot. You can judge from the Ole magazine front pages that there was a sense of a time gone by to the 1980s. Some of our photographs are in there too, not quite sure which or where. I can’t remember


By when I was 14 I was quite fed up of the whole photography thing. I did carry on a bit but I quitted. I did other stuff instead. I wrote horror and sci-fi short stories. I did a degree in psychology. I learnt to write code.

I picked up photography again in my mid-late twenties, this time having seen how it can be a personal thing (and not just a job to do the biding of others). I had seen a man jumping over a puddle and I was aware of flashy photographs of seagulls eating chips. I enrolled into a documentary photography evening course (that I didn’t finish). I picked up a camera again and tried to take more and more challenging photographs. Not technically challenging. I tried to find liberating photographs that would put me in challenging situations. I wanted to see what I was made of. I tried to get these photographs to express something that was beyond the thing in front of the camera. And I burned, burned, burned. Projects had become too ambitious, life too chaotic. I was assaulted a couple of times. Exhausted of challenging myself over the years I quitted again less than ten years before picking up photography again. Running a gallery and helping photography via others was more soothing, but still hard work.

So in 2014 I decided not to pick up a camera again. At least for the many years. In the summer of 2014 I took some rolls of film to be developed. I moved house. Forgot about those last rolls of film (which I had developed with the intention to be the last). I picked them up in the autumn of 2015. I’ve not scanned them.

They look sad and melancholic.



Last 35mm