Hi Markku, can you start by telling us a few words about yourself?
I was born in Finland. My interest in photography started when I was about 8 years old and when my uncle gave me my first camera. By 21 I had a studio in my then hometown Tampere, Finland and soon after me and my wife/creative partner Anne moved to London, UK. A career as a commercial photographer became the new reality and that would eventually, after 6 years back in Finland, lead us to Los Angeles. My photography ranges from pure painterly to complex technical composites. I enjoy working and traveling for both American and European clients and my love of photography also inspires a constant stream of personal work that is largely inspired by the values I hold dear — joy of life, peace of mind and a sense of humor. My personal projects and commissions from advertising agencies have been recognized internationally and placed in numerous awards competitions: Clio, Epica, Cannes Lions, AOP Awards, New York Festival, CA, APA and PX3. With a nod to my home country, The Grafia Platinum Award was given to me for my influence on Finnish Advertising.
It was your series Havana Taxi Company that caught our eye – and that of our World Travelers judge Steve McCurry too. Can you tell us a bit about the series?
My Taxi projects started few years ago when I was on an assignment in Mumbai, India and I had couple of days just to wonder around the city. The little taxis (Fiat Padminis) caught my eye. I ended up traveling the city’s endless roads hopping from one taxi to another and capturing the Padmini taxis and their drivers against the city as a backdrop. It took me and Anne a few years to figure out where next. But then we learned about Havana’s taxis, which are mostly American cars from the 1950s.
Tell us a bit more about that…
The second series happened summer 2016, when it became easier to travel to Cuba from US. We’d been wanting to go to Cuba for a long time. It’s a place that has always been visually unique with its rich textures, its interesting people, the most beautiful architecture and of course, its uncommon fleet of taxis. With Cuba moving to a new era, that is going to change quickly, I knew we had to go now if we wanted capture it in its real form.