Tag Archive: Sanna Kannisto

  1. Observing Eye

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    ArtistSanna Kannisto
    PublisherSanna Kannisto / Hatje Cantz
    SizePortrait 250 × 290 mm
    Content144 pages, including one 8-page gatefold
    76 images
    TextsBarbara Hofmann-Johnson
    FontsMinion Pro and ITC Espirit
    PaperArctic Volume white 150 g, front and end papers: Geltex silks 115 g
    BindingSewn binding, hard cover. Brillianta fabric cover with debossed image on the front cover.
    PrintingUV offset

    Concept of the publication, design / layout, supervision of the printing work and taking care of the production.

    Observing Eye is third monograph book from Finnish visual artist Sanna Kannisto. This book concentrates on Sanna’s bird series that she has been shooting in Finland, Russia, Italy and Costa Rica. 

    Sanna’s working method is very unique. She is an artist who’s work lands interestingly between art and nature photography. She shows her works in galleries and museums but her subjects are familiar from nature photography. For this book she has been working together with scientists at the bird stations. The birds are captured for scientific purpose and ringing and after the research has been done Sanna can take photos of the birds in her small portable field studio. In the white plexiglass studio birds are isolated from their natural habitats for a short time. Sanna pays close attention to how her photographs are composed: She plans and selects carefully all the attributes, props, branches etc and sometimes she might do a lot of work in compositing the images later in Photoshop. The end result is partly portrait, partly still life image and partly nature photography.

    In some images she uses black curtains on left and right side of the studio that gives theatrical “stage look” for the images. The bird (sometimes many of them) certainly is the protagonist of the scene. What makes these photographs different from conventional nature photography is the close proximity. There is always a close encounter between the photographer and the bird – the bird observes and reacts to the photographer and vice versa. It is very rare to see a bird from so close distance in real life. We wanted to take advantage of this and keep photographs as large as possible so that the birds in the book are quite close to their real life-size. 

    Most of the birds she photographs are migratory birds that are on their way to South or North in spring or Autumn. One detail that is not immediately visible in the images are the rings that the birds have in their legs. These birds are not just any wild birds: they are part of research and they have been “named”. They are free birds but have become part of the scientific “culture”. The naming of the works also refer to this. Usually the works are named after the Latin species name. Sometimes Sanna uses another type of naming, that might be more poetical or refer to the outside of the photograph (like Silent Spring or Approach of Winter).

    For the book we wanted to have classical cloth cover. We selected pale green Brillianta fabric that has very nice natural haptic feel. As paper stock we used bulky Arctic Volume paper that gives good printing quality but feels pleasant for the eye and hand.

    Observing Eye was short-listed on Photobook of the year 2020 -prize in Finland and it got silver medal in Deutscher Fotobuchpreis (German Photo Book Prize) 20/21 on series of Conceptual Artistic Photo-Picture Collection (Konzeptionell künstlerischer Fotobildband).