Esko Männikkö. Essays by Rudolf Schmitz and Heikki Kastemaa. Portikus, Frankfurt am Main/Oktagon Verlag, Köln, 1996. 135 pp. Quarto. First and only printing. Hardbound. Photo-illustrated boards. No jacket as issued. Color reproductions.
READ MORE about Esko Männikkö and see installation views of his work. Presenting his prints in rustic wood frames hung in salon style arrangements compliments his very, very rustic subject matter, which consists of images of daily life in the far reaches of northern Finland. Männikkö won the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize in 2008.
In a 1996 review of his work Daniel Birnbaum observed,
In relation to the snapshot aesthetics of much "trendy" 90s photography, Männikkö’s images appear rather old-fashioned in their careful craftsmanship. They blend the transient quality of the documentary with a keen sense for colour and light that is sometimes reminiscent of classical painting, an association which is facilitated by the heavy wooden frames in which they are presented. The people depicted are surrounded by their belongings decorations, mechanical gadgets, TV sets, and plastic kitchen utensils. These objects attain a symbolic function, as in Renaissance art. The men carefully attend to their belongings and the objects appear almost as extensions of their personalities....
Only very seldom does one glimpse a woman in these images: the world captured by Männikkö is barren and masculine. The females have fled the countryside, leaving the bachelors behind on the margins of civilisation. Persistent and lonesome. White, European, heterosexual men and still so distant from the omnipotent character feminist theory has dismantled. Männikkö’s photographs are reminders of forms of masculinity that thwart most preconceptions. Where does culture end and nature begin? Considering how much energy has been spent recently discussing the social construction of the Woman, it might be time to apply the same tools to the problem of masculinity. Following "Constructing Masculinity" and "The Black Male...", perhaps the debate will soon be enriched by a new category the Finnish Watchmaker.
Light wear; otherwise Fine.