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Meet Lotta Lemetti

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lotta Lemetti.

Lotta, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I come from Finland and my background is in sports. I was a competitive figure skater for 15 years and my whole life to some extent revolved around it. Sometimes the pressure that came with the meticulous sport felt overwhelming. During those moments I often turned into photography and drawing as a means to release stress and anxiety. When at the age of 18 I decided to end my skating career a new path in the visual arts had been ripening at the back of my mind.

It was a big decision to move to New York to study photography straight after graduating from High School, but now looking back to it, it was a crucial one for my career. Being here has pushed me towards my dream career in a way and speed I could only dream of being in Finland. Today, only a year after my graduation, I am able to work with photography almost every day either as a photographer, retoucher or a photo assistant.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
To start a business from scratch is a struggle for anyone. You work any job you can get and hope that by the end of the month it’s enough to make the rent and pay the bills. It’s hard work and it can be nerve-racking at times. Freelance lifestyle is not for everyone and for a while I was doubting if it was for me. The only photography jobs I got were through friends and paid very minimal. That’s when I stumbled upon production design. A lot of my close friends here are in filmmaking and through them, I started getting jobs as a set designer. It was a great financial relief and a much-needed gust of fresh air in my daily routine.

It also inspired a lot my work as a photographer and lead me to my current semi-permanent job with Leila Fakouri Art and Design. Leila worked as a commercial set designer for over 10 years before starting her own photography business. The combination of set design and photography is why I contacted her in the first place and it turned out to be a perfect match as I wanted to learn more about set building and she needed someone to assist with photography.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
I am a photographer who is trying to expose the unseen or overlooked beauty in everyday life. That aspect of wondrousness is what connects all of my work and sets it apart from other photographers. I enjoy composing surprising still life arrangements from mundane objects. I am fascinated by how normal things can transform into something extraordinary. I also take portraits of people with the intention to bring out something genuine and effortless in the person in front of the lens. That for me is beauty.

My most recent photography project called Kekta is a conceptual series that discusses national identity and cultural blending. I started the project to answer the itching question of my own identity living in a foreign land but acting as a part of its society. The project got a warm welcome from the photography community and it has already been exhibited in Los Angeles and New York, and it also won me the title of Photographer of the Year 2018 from Latitude Life APS’s international photography competition.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I feel like I’m only starting to crack open the door to all the possibilities I have as a photographer. I want to keep creating as much new work as I can to develop and hone my portfolio and artistic vision to a point that I can get represented and step into the big league. At the moment I am working on creating myself a studio space where I can study my own way of photography and hopefully create that distinctive visual language that’s going to guide my career as a photographer.

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