Within Finnish photography, Helsinki-born Pentti Sammallahti is a benchmark figure in contemporary Finnish photography. Having picked up photography from his grandmother he shot and developed his first images at 11 years old, and soon began to travel and exhibit all corners of the world in his youth. Documentary photographs from his early travels across Europe, Scandinavia, Siberia, the far East, and Africa have a supernatural feel, with a fine-tuned adaption to capture the vast beauty of our planet. Animals and cultures of all shapes and sizes, and not seldom how they interact, have been recorded by Sammallahti during his travels.
From 1974 to 1991 Sammallahti taught photography at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki. He retired after receiving a 15-year grant from the Finnish government, which is no longer awarded. His decade's worth of photography and teaching has had an enormous influence on documentary photographers in the Nordics.
Selected exhibitions: Musée de la Photographie, Nice (2020), Fotografiska Museum, Stockholm (2020), Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki (2011), Nailya Alexander Gallery, New York (2009).