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mankind// mag

JULY 2009

designformankind.com

the  lazy  issue casey jex smith / mike mills / ida lehtonen / ... and then some.


table of contents// (we始re not telling you...)

image credit: casey jex smith


ida
lehtonen// interview by kelly roberson idalehtonen.com


ida
lehtonen// Visually affecting and always unexpected. the photographs of Ida Lehtonen hint at a photographer whose talent we’ll watch for decades to come. Here’s what inspires her— and why she rarely takes a lazy day off.

// With two much-older sisters, you spent a lot of alone time as a child. Tell us about growing up in Finland. I was born in southwest Finland, in a small, sleepy town called Paimio, famous for its hospital, a modernist masterpiece designed in 1932 by Alvar Aalto. I lived in a white brick house by a park where I read a lot and watched a lot of movies. My mum taped all the good movies on TV, so I got a decent education in film from very early on, which was something that definitely affected my visual mind.  // You left home at an early age—just 16. I was accepted to a high school in Turku that specialized in both visual and performing arts, and I got into photography my first year there. We had a really good, inspiring teacher who concentrated on talking and analyzing pictures and introducing us to different photographers instead of just learning the craft of photography. So I think that had a great impact on me. I also took courses in film and thought I would become a filmmaker, but gradually I understood that it wasn’t the right choice for me. I grew more and more fascinated by the still image and the independent nature of photography. // Some people might think that being a photographer is easy—you just snap a picture and voilá. But it’s a taxing field that doesn’t allow for very many lazy days, right? For me, the process is private, intuitive, and often slow. I’ve recently talked a lot about how as an artist you never really do “go on a holiday” or leave your work. Even on days when you don’t take a single picture or don’t feel motivated, you never really leave your work behind. Of course there are days when you’re not motivated to work, but I think it’s equally important to spend time looking at pictures, movies, listening to music, taking long walks, meeting people, having conversations, dancing and running, thinking and dreaming and so on. Pictures that are included in my work are not something I just happened to snap or see.   After a photo shoot I usually have around 200 images and I select 3-6 pictures that I choose to show. I believe in one strong picture you can stay with for a long time.


ida
lehtonen// // I think a key to avoiding career laziness is to do something you love, right? How do you feel about photography? I think for me, "the love" came from finding a certain method or a way to work. When I started I took a lot of self-portraits. Even then photography was a kind of performance in front of the camera and that is still a major part of my work today, even though my pictures can no longer be described exactly as self-portraits. // Do you ever leave your camera behind? I don’t work in that way that I produce something all the time, but I try to document my life as much as possible. I’ve never written a diary; I’ve always taken pictures instead. // You’re in school right now; many people might think that allows for a less hectic schedule but that’s not the case, right? My studies are very independent and if I wasn’t at school my life wouldn’t be that much different. I would probably travel more and I miss is having a studio of my own I guess. I appreciate the freedom of school and being able to experiment with different things and mediums. Also being able to show your work to other people and receiving critiques on regular basis is really important. Photography is as difficult a career choice as any other art form.  How to support yourself by making art is more or less the infinite question, especially for an young artist. // How do you keep yourself inspired? I love what I do and that keeps me excited. For me it’s important to always look ahead, try to find new ways and forms to work. I love collaborating with people. Collaboration doesn’t necessarily have to be an art piece produced together; discussions and sharing ideas with other artists is as important as where it actually leads.

I don’t want to limit myself to photography. I work with photography but my work is rarely about the medium in and of itself, but instead it’s more connected to installation and performance art, even sculpture. I use the camera to document the work I’ve constructed. When people ask me what kind of photography I do, I usually tell them that I build things because I think it more or less sums up what I do. Whether I’m working with people or spaces, my work is about setting up, staged photography.  I would love to work more threedimensionally in the future. I’ve been also planning a project about kinetic sculpture. The internet is an essential source of inspiration for me. Everyday I go through hundreds of images, all very different, everything from family snapshots to graphic design to pictures on medical journals. Lately I’ve been inspired by sculptural work from the ‘60s and ‘70s from Barry Le Va, Richard Serra, and Bruce Nauman and the body of work from Hélio Oiticica and Sol LeWitt.  I’ve also been studying geometry, topology, and visual mathematics, and those images have been a kind of starting point for the work I have in progress. 


ida
lehtonen//

// You’re currently living in Sweden—so on those perfect, lazy days, what do you do? Sleep late and have a long breakfast consisting of many cups of coffee, as much fruit as possible and preferably some kind of cake. Then I take a long walk around the city, never without music, ideally finding something new on my way. I never have a destination; just being in motion is enough. Now that it’s lovely springtime in Gothenburg and the summer is not too far away I would probably head to the sea. In the evening I would make myself a tropical cocktail in the company of good friends, then dance the night away.


lazyโ€ฉbranches// Photography: Las Coleccionistas Style: Roxana Rivas Makeup and Hairdressing: Damiรกn Brissio Model: Laia Bonastre Clothing & Accessories: Olyva, Levi's, Tommy Hilfiger, Vialis, Marc Jacobs, Rayban, Converse and Forever21. lascoleccionistas.com


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iʼll feed you ramen and youʼll braid my hair. //the weepies

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next up? the hipster issue. be ready. september 2nd.


The Lazy Issue: Mankind Mag