Arno Rafael Minkkinen is one of the most historical artist’s within the Helsinki School, as an artist, teacher, writer, and mentor as well as being a recipient of the Lucie Award. For over forty years he has been photographing his naked body. His self-portraits are a mixture of performance art, staged especially for the camera, combined with an intimate relationship with nature. His method of working has always been about testing his own personal limits and how far he can push the human body with all the physical risks he encounters in capturing himself within the photograph. What you see in his photographs is what they are, a solitary figure at one with the natural landscape that surrounds him. Sculpturally poetic, his body is captured in the process of becoming. Sometimes a leg becomes a branch in a tree or a hand finding its touch on the horizon. His art reveals a process that blends his philosophy of life with a calmness that grows from the confidence of being one with yourself and your surroundings. Minkkinen states: "For any idea to succeed it has to be anchored in the reality of the moment. Art is a risk made visible. It’s my philosophy of vision. Or perhaps it is also this: I think, therefore I see; therefore, as Descartes would have it, I am.”
Arno Rafael Minkkinen (*1945 in Helsinki) is a Finnish American photographer, essayist, and professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Lowell as well as docent at Aalto University, School of Art, Design, and Architecture in Helsinki. Major monographs include Waterline (Marval, Aperture, and Otava, 1994), SAGA: The Journey of Arno Rafael Minkkinen: Thirty-Five Years of Photographs (Chronicle, 2005), Homework: The Finnish Photographs (Like, Ltd, Helsinki, 2008) and Minkkinen (Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg, 2019).
Minkkinen's work is part in over 75 prominent museum and institutional collections worldwide such as the Musée d’art moderne and the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris, the Musée de l’Élysée in Lausanne, the Contemporary Art Museum Kiasma in Helsinki, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Fine ArtsBoston, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography.