Here’s a rare chance to view and experience the architecture of Finnish legend Alvar Aalto vis-a-vis the Swiss master Le Corbusier, through the lens of Finnish photographer Jari Jetsonen, as part of the exhibition, ‘Reflections Le Corbusier and Alvar Aalto’, which opened Tuesday at the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh.
Jetsonen has photographed Alvar Aalto’s architecture for over 20 years and began to work on Le Corbusier’s buildings more widely in the spring of 2014, when he was a fellow at the Paris Art Center, the Cité Internationales des Arts.
The showcase consists of 24 pairs of photographs through which Jetsonen presents his comparisons between Le Corbusier and Alvar Aalto, the Swiss and Finnish pioneers of Modernism. The exhibition, which is open till April 7, has been organised by the Embassy of Finland in New Delhi and belongs to a series of cultural activities to mark the anniversary of 70 years of diplomatic relations between Finland and India.
Jetsonen has designed several exhibitions and is the author of 15 architecture books. His projects include exhibitions on bathing culture, ‘The Finnish Sauna; The Japanese Furo; The Indian Inipi: Bathing on Three Continents’, for which he was awarded the Finnish Sauna Society prize in 2003. Since 1986, he has taught the basics of architectural techniques, including measuring drawings, building architectural models, and architectural photographing at several universities and workshops in Finland, Japan, United States and Turkey.
Jetsonen was also invited by the Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi for an audio-visual presentation ‘Nordic Light’ and as part of the talk, shared his experiences and thoughts on architectural photography and also his extensive work in the area. Going back in time,
Jetsonen recalled how he was 7 when he used his first camera, starting with black and white photography, as he captured for years, many historical buildings in black and white, the angles and shots varying during day and night. India, says the photographer is replete with beautiful buildings and architecture, each city presenting a unique and different style. “In my photographs, I strive to show people the same way I see nature, through material and tradition. I have taken photographs of famous places and compared these with old photographs; working on new angles and how the forms change during day and night, with the pictures taking a different shape, structure and artistic feel. In architecture there are beautiful elements that we don’t need more light to reflect on,” shared Jetsonen.
With technology changing fast, added the photographer, he has to be constantly updated, as he uses different cameras for his work, which connects nature’s beauty with the wonders of architecture. Talking about his work related to Nordic Light, Jetsonen says the light is heavy, for when there is light, there is an abundance of it, and when there is no light, there is none. The photographer has captured unique images of it in winter, summer, spring and autumn, choosing different times of the day for this project.
Jetsonen talked about how he visits a place several times, before he finalises a shot, analysing the play of light on the building, studying its angles and then taking many shots to study them deeply on his computer screen, choosing one that does complete justice to the work of architecture. “Sometimes I instantly know that this is the photograph I want. I don’t believe in adding elements to it with the use of technology. What is needed are interesting elements in a photograph,” summed up Jetsonen.