Guest Lecture: Laura Nissinen

Guest lecture: Laura Nissinen

Tuesday 24 July 2018, 1200hrs

Laura Nissinen is a Helsinki based photographer and photography researcher. She specialises in abstract Finnish art photography.

Transcription (selected points) of guest lecture:

‘Also, do remember, there are no wrong words. Even in masters level, you have, or PhD, you should have your theoretical frame and history and so on and you have to know how to locate yourself and know the other people doing your stuff but you should also have your own voice. And that own voice can be very unorthodox. It can be the work of dreams, or play, your fantasy, it doesn’t have to be, er, you know, Monday morning reality.’

‘Maybe just to everyone who is struggling with photography. I just want to say that I’ve always been struggling with photograph.

In the beginning I wasn’t technical enough, then I wasn’t something else, and in the third I was something else. You just find your own path, you know. It’s there, and photography is such a wide medium, there is something for everyone there, believe me. Just do your own stuff and go to the direction that interests you.’

‘I’ve always been drawn to things I don’t understand. And I think abstraction is one of those things you can never fully understand and of course this goes into art, er, anyway. Art is very, you’ll never get bored with it.

It is OK to be secretive and we all have our own way of working. And I like mysterious things. I mean, that sounds quite interesting, (having) a secretive and serious life as well.

Just follow your own path and don’t let, er, do what you like without harming anyone. Don’t let them tell you which is right and which is wrong because, er, that’s not true.’

‘I understand you when you say it is difficult to take the lead.

But it’s worth it. It’s not going to break you, nothing bad is going to happen so just go for it.

It will come but it takes work. You have to read, you have to write, you have to see thousands, and thousands, and thousands of images of all sorts. You have to sort of, er, put yourself out there. And then, I’m sure something will happen. But it will not happen if you try to lock yourself in a room and be alone because I don’t think that’s how people’s brains work in that way. First you have to fill it up, overload it and then something (undistinguishable).

That’s my way of working anyway.

If I’m stuck, I go to an exhibition, I start reading. It doesn’t matter what I read, whether it’s photography, history, philosophy, er, science fiction or, you know, science magazine – it doesn’t matter. As long as it sparks something within me. And finding answers is difficult, but they are there. And don’t be insecure, just go for it.’

Note: the above transcriptions are excerpts from a lecture lasting 1 hr 10 minutes. These particular excerpts have been chosen because I feel they are the lecture content most relevant to my practice and its development.


Nissinen, Laura (2018). Untitled [Lecture to Photography Course Hub, Falmouth]. 24 July.

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