Osma Harvilahti

Osma Harvilahti is a graduate of fashion sociology and art history from Helsinki University and of visual journalism and graphic design from Aalto Art University. In 2013, his work has been exhibited at group shows such as 29th International Festival of Photography, Villa Noailles, Hyères; Nordic Tones, Art Rebels Gallery, Copenhagen, 2013; 89+, Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London, 2013; Wish You Were Here, Month of Photography Los Angeles, 2013; Deus Ex Machina, Mexico City, 2011. His first monograph “Polychromatic” was published by Éditions du LIC in 2013.

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Christopher Schreck’s review about Osma’s first monograph “Polychromatic”

“Osma Harvilahti’s photographs stem from a wilful resolve to aestheticise the world to the point of abstraction, with his subjects – whether plant, person, or object – assessed and portrayed entirely on the level of colour, pattern, and form. Though based in Helsinki, the majority of Harvilahti’s work is documentary in nature: vivid shots of people and places captured during his frequent travels. In looking through his images, one is immediately struck by the sense that even as he finds himself in increasingly exotic locations, Harvilahti’s approach remains consistent in its discriminations, his only concern being the continuous refinement of his increasingly singular formal vocabulary. Responding in real time to the surrounding environment, he scans each scene that he encounters for points of pure visual interest, translating both the natural and man-made worlds into readymade arrangements of tone and shape that function primarily, if not entirely, as formal exercises.

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Throughout his work, Harvilahti’s tone is calm and unaffected, implicitly warm but somehow distanced, as he appropriates the basic methods of both street and travel photography but denies those genres’ ambitions of objectivity or meaningful description. Whether discovered or arranged, Harvilahti’s images eschew any pretence of lending insight into a given person or place, let alone the broader surrounding culture(s): there is only the aesthetically-charged fragment, vibrant in its formal ingenuity but entirely unconcerned with notions of context or narrative, exoticism or ubiquity.”

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Osma’s work has been featured and commissioned by publications such as AnOther Magazine, Bloomberg Business Week, The Room, Modern Design Review, Nowness, Inventory Magazine, The Huffington Post, WIRED, SSAW Magazine, Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, Elle, IMA Photography, Monocle Magazine, U+Mag and Apartamento. Some of Osma’s clients include Levi’s Strauss, Nokia, Microsoft, PRE Helsinki, Eytys, Satu Maaranen, Marimekko and WSOY”

To view more of Osma’s work please his website.