Arno Rafael Minkkinen

Finnish-American, 1945–present

For the past five decades Minkkinen has devoted his research and energies exclusively to the self-portrait. Studying in the early 1970s at Rhode Island School of Design under Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind, he was inspired to adopt similarly unorthodox and surrealistic elements in his work. With just the landscape and his own nudity in concert, his photographs celebrate an ageless, out-of-time spirituality, a humble and honest assimilation of abstract and enigmatic forces framed in a viewfinder pointing inward as much as embracing the visual realities of the world in front of the lens.

His creative challenge is revealed through a simple conundrum — make it different, keep it the same — and a persistence in building the lifelong pathway for his images from this perspective. Working without assistants — and without manipulation — Minkkinen’s self-portraits stand as one of the genre’s longest, unchanging, nonstop continuities of practice and vision.