Interview With Petri Damstén From Finland

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Petri Damstén

Petri Damstén is a one-of-a-kind photographer, exploring the deepest, darkest secrets of the human mind.

Interview With The 2022 European Photography Awards Category Winner of the Year – Petri Damstén

1Can you introduce yourself and talk about how you got into photography?
I'm a dark art photographer, digital artist and nerd from Kuopio, Finland. My passion for photography started after I retired from my day job as a software engineer in 2009 because of mental health issues. I explore the dark side of life in my art.
2Where did you study photography?
I'm a self-taught photographer. I would say YouTube has been the biggest source of information for me.
3Do you remember your first shot? What was it?
My first shot with DSLR was our backyard lights in wintertime.
4What equipment do you use?
For 'The Dark Room' series, I used Nikon D850. My main camera currently is a Fuji GFX 50s with a couple of lenses.
5What do you hope to achieve?
Photography and art are also therapy for me. I hope this keeps me in better mental health and gives meaningful doing to my life.
6What compliment inspired/touched you the most?
When a photograph has touched somebody deeper. That can be a negative feeling too. I have said that I rather get a comment "that's awful" than "nice" since in the first case image gave the viewer a stronger feeling and hopefully something to think about.
7What inspires your unique storytelling?
I get inspiration from many places. Music and lyrics have been a big inspiration source. 'The dark room' series also started from the lyrics of my favourite band Sentenced.
8What THREE (3) words describe your photography style?
Dark, moody, surreal
9Congratulations! As the winner of the European Photography Awards, what does it mean for you and your team to receive this distinction?
Winning an award in a big competition is a big thing for me. It gives a big boost to continue with my art.
10Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2022 European Photography Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

I got my first inspiration for this series while listening to my favourite metal band, Sentenced. It evolved into a collection of images of what a dark mind might look like from the inside. All the destructive thoughts that circulate in your brain and feelings that bring you down. The dark room inside of your own head.

When I finish a bigger project like this, I usually upload it to several photography competitions to get some feedback on how others see it.

11How has winning an award developed your career?
Awards have given me the confidence to pursue my art to get better in what I do.
12Name 1-3 photographers who have inspired you.
Juha Arvid Helminen, Brooke Shaden, Joel Grimes
13What was the best piece of advice you were given starting out, by a mentor or your role model?
Not sure if there is a single piece of advice. My friend helped me a lot in studio lighting and photo editing. Sometimes it was even painful and took a lot of work but it paid off in the end.
14What advice would you give someone who would like to become a photographer today?
That is hugely dependent on what kind of photography somebody is after. With photography art, I would say do your own thing and don't let others say what you should do. That being said you should also not be blind to constructive criticism when it's appropriate.
15What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
Probably somebody else could answer this better. I don't try to please anybody, but doing my own thing with topics that are sometimes really hard might be something to do with that.
16How do you stay in that space of being receptive to new information and knowledge?
I think I was born with curiosity built in. I have always been interested to learn things and I like to also get information from outside my comfort zone.
17Anything else you would like to add to the interview?
“I like to make people a little uncomfortable. It encourages them to examine who they are and why they think the way they do.” — Sally Mann, American photographer

Winning Entry

The Dark Room | 2022

The Dark Room

I got my first inspiration for this series while listening to my favourite metal band, Sentenced. It evolved to a collection …
(Read more at European Photography Awards)

Petri Damstén

Petri Damstén is a one-of-a-kind photographer, exploring the deepest, darkest secrets of the human mind.

Read about this article with Stefano Pellegrini from Finland, Platinum Winner of the 2022 European Photography Awards.