Colour seems to have its own world. It can be digested like a juicy orange, saturated in colours that affect us quite deeply at times. A consistency of colour is a very rare thing in photographic projects, which brings together a visually accomplished set of pictures. Alongside good design we are seduced into the saturated pigments placed up on blank pages. Editorial qualities reign yet there is something infectious about the collection of photographs when they combine. Together they form an enticing force that can't help but stop us in our virtual tracks. They seduce us every time.
Osma Harvilahti has become a household name in photography over the past few years and I have been following the work through blogs and personal posts. There has always been something that separates it from the norm in contemporary, something that has blossomed over the internet for sometime. Osma's work is like a fine wine, when everyone is downing shots of tequila left right and centre (figuratively speaking of course). There are the obvious connections to Vivian Sassen's rendition of colour and shade and their editorial value places them in a unique position. There is more to them than what meets the eye.
There is a fetishism with colour, as his camera flirts with notions of the exotic. It has been described as an aesthetic exercise of sorts and its attachment to colour seems to be its predominant venture. As previously stated in a description by Christopher Schreck, the work plucks out certain colours to contain intensely pungent notions. The result is sweet, like the exotic fruit on show and quaintly surreal backgrounds people seem to be placed in. These moments are always passing, but stare intently. There has been a lot written about the work, and it is perhaps easy to fall into the trap of over elaborating the simple. It is also too easy to label these as 'everyday' moments. 'Everyday' is too broad. They would be overlooked if you said they were diaristic and it would be wrong to call them self indulgent. They behold a certain magic.
They are not staged, in a 'staged' way. They do not attempt to create anything at all which leaves us in a nervous position. Our first instinct to consume imagery and place it in our minds for a rainy day seems compromised as I am desperately looking for more in the scenes of serene beauty. I see greens, yellows and reds dancing on the back ofan anonymous figure in a dream land. They are not selling garments, but they board a line. It is uncomfortable because they fail to sit in any category yet make no attempt to make another. Our instinctual need to categorise leaves us looking stupid. Selected moments collate a sense of CMYK, but not in any attempt to match contemporary aesthetics. They lead us into the wild but don't tell us why.
Bathroom tiles drift like the calm seas of remote beaches. Lemons find their way on a sink so sumptuous you could live there and feel content. But the subject is transformed effortlessly. <i>Even</i> the gentle placing of a toothbrush seems so important, as gushing water takes place. We see paradise. We see paradise where it shouldn't exist and where it doesn't exist. It is all an illusion. The mist accumulating in the sink creates a morning fog as spray roams around the photograph. You can feel the water lightly hit your skin.
Osma's selected vision presents glorious moments, so beautiful it is hard to put them down or even consider them to be real. But their focus is on the realist aspect of life we can experience. To excuse a phrase, our 'everyday'.