A Next Generation Finn: Hannu Huhtamo’s hand at light painting photography

With so much eye-grabbing art out there it’s difficult to find a focal point. Hannu Huhtamo’s light painting photography is an art form that provides just that — focus.

Hannu is putting an interesting spin on photography by overlaying long exposure captures of light movement to beautiful still photography, and he’s using Finland as the backdrop.




“The darkness is my canvas and the light, my paintbrush.” — Hannu Huhtamo


Hannu Huhtamo – Where the Rust Blooms


While light manipulation within photography is nothing new, Hannu’s captivating photos are directly metaphorical to the country Hannu is from, Finland, setting his work apart from the rest.

Finland is no stranger to extreme darkness in the relentless winter months — the act of chasing light becomes a necessary skill for mental survival in the arctic — and this art form is a fitting adaptation of that notion.


Hannu Huhtamo – Terminus


I asked Hannu a few questions about his work, here’s what he had to say:


1. Is photography your first love?

Actually no, originally I’m a guitar player who accidentally got involved in long exposure photography. But since that day I’ve been totally hooked on light painting so I guess you can call it a love affair that turned into a long {term} relationship. While music has always been my great source of energy, light painting is more like a meditative state that helps me to concentrate on a moment.


Hannu Huhtamo – Lost and Lethal


2. Where in Finland are some of your favorite spots to shoot?

Usually I don’t have to go far away from Helsinki. The city outskirts can offer quite a lot of interesting locations if there’s just enough darkness for longer exposure times. To avoid light pollution I usually head up to Luukki recreation area in Espoo. Kruunuvuori ghost town is definitely one of my all time favorite spots in Helsinki. All the abandoned and collapsed villas offer a surreal scene for photography. It’s a shame that nowadays the place is almost gone.



Hannu Huhtamo – Bright Ambassadors


3. The contrast in your pieces is stunning, are you drawn to darkness you think?

Maybe a little, the balance between two sides is important. I find it interesting and also challenging to decide what details you want to emphasize with light.


Hannu Huhtamo – The making of a portrait


4. What’s your favorite instrument of light to work with?

If I have to choose one, it would be the electroluminescent wire, aka glow wire. It’s versatile because you can bend it in various shapes and create organic shapes more smoothly.




5. What’s next on the agenda?

I’ll try to finish my long exposure portrait series “Connected” and start making some plans for a light painted music video. Hopefully all this by the end of the year!


Hannu Huhtamo – Expansion

What brightens your perspective? How do you quiet your internal chaos? For more illuminating inspiration check out more of Hannu’s work here:

Hannu’s Flickr

Hannu’s 500px

Hannu’s Facebook



Title image: Hannu Huhtamo – Tri-Iris

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