Tarmo Virves “Personal pictures” 11.12-07.01.2018

Tarmo Virves’ exhibition ‘Personal Pictures’ is open from 11 December to 7 January in the project room of the Museum of Photography. At 18:00 on 5 January there will be an artist talk and opportunity for discussion.

The exhibited works reflect a very personal approach on many levels. Virves uses historical photo-processing to convey the personal relationship between the photographer and their subject in the increasingly anonymous and superficial world of photography.

The entire exhibition space is structured so as to showcase the opposition between the public and private spheres. The photos visible to the public depict people’s faces and objects, just as we witness them in day-to-day life. Once the curtains are drawn, a more intimate image of the model/photographer is revealed. These are honest, everyday photos of people’s bodies and sexuality.

The photos on display were produced using historical techniques: the daguerreotype and ambrotype processes. The daguerreotype was the first technique for producing photographic images that was presented to the public. It dates back to 1839. The image is developed on a polished silver plate, partly negative and partly positive.

Ambrotype was invented in 1852 and is a wet collodion process.

Virves says: “It’s hard to explain how this photo or that photo was created… I don’t just ‘click and shoot’. I use old, more difficult, manual photo techniques because I’m intrigued by the process itself. I love the sort of ritual that develops between me and the subject. Testing, waiting, more testing, more waiting, until you get the result you want: a good photo.

What I look for in pictures is honesty, and I’ve tried to remain honest in creating my own works. I believe, in that case, that the audience needs no guiding. The images speak for themselves.”

Curator and text: Tanel Verk