Oona Oikkonen is a photographer and art director working between Antwerp and Helsinki. Having background as a stylist, her work is very well colour planned and she embraces individuality. She’s a photographer who expresses a full range of emotions without embarrassment. Her work is thoughtful, sometimes psychological and at the same time devilishly funny and damn angry. She’s passionate about life and tries to live it to the fullest.
- Do you have anything to say about 2019?
2019 felt like it lasted three years and I don’t mean that time went slowly - the opposite, it flied. So many things happened last year that I could barely keep up and I wouldn’t be surprised if I would find grey hair in my red messy hair.
Sometimes life fucks you up and you kind of lose yourself meanwhile and if you’re strong enough bad things can be the sand that makes the pearl.
- How would you describe your photography?My life has been always really turbulent and it’s the main source of inspiration in my photography work. I have a keen eye for colours and the main ingredient in my work is the power of individuality.
I’m definitely spoiled that I knew from quite young age what I wanted to do work wise and photography has been always a big factor, my fountain of youth and love of my life.
- Many of your pictures are photographed during night. Do you personally prefer day or night time?Oh hard one.. I love to work late at night because there’s nothing to distract you. I used to photograph Helsinki’s nightlife but for a while I’ve been a bit done with it. I was always photographing nightlife with my film camera. But it died the same day as Notre-Dame was burning. End of an era.
- Why did you move from Helsinki to Antwerp?Antwerp was a whole new oyster for me, just waiting to be cracked.
Beginning of 2018 I just needed something new, a change and then I left. Have you ever dreamed about escaping to a new country without barely telling anyone? Well that was exactly what I did. Finland is very isolated and there’s so much more to discover. I don’t want to stay in one place too long time, I don’t want to get stuck.
- How would you define your colour world?Oh you can definitely see my mood in my colour palette. Last Spring it was really pastel-like and lots of yellow. Closer to Winter it always gets darker.
I start with an idea and then I immediately plan colour world around it. Colours play a big role in my work.
- Is there anything else that you would like to do besides photography?Write. Very stereotypical combo: Photographer and writer.
- Are you now working on any specific project?
Yes, about frustration. I’ve been always very interested in human behaviour. People are strange and they’re constantly angered by trivial things.
Personally I’m really frustrated about the world’s “slow” death. If you think about it, you will probably feel frustrated as well.
Frustration is a very complicated topic and it’s a good way to challenge myself to try my best to bring this very well known feeling to life through photography.
- What do you wish for 2020?Lots of good energy and more action to address climate change. Stand up for climate justice.
If you put all your energy and effort into what you love to do, there’s no doubt you’ll succeed. But it is important to remember that if you start thinking that everything you are doing is a masterpiece, then you are in a big trouble. Try to find a balance.
I also want to develop my own work and go out of my comfort zone and try some different photographical approaches. Expand my own visual language.
- Any song for 2019 and 2020?Hard to say one..
2019: Frank Sinatra - That’s Life (Small note: read the lyrics. You’ll understand why this is the mood song of 2019).
2020: Screamin Rachael - Fun With Bad Boys