Building a pathway to a lifetime vision.

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How important is consistency of vision in art making? Can twenty different artists inhabit a single lifetime? Or should artists seek to create bridges that unite one work with the next, one time span with another, all the while trusting one’s gut instinct that such links are possible? In contemporary photography, it seems, creating nexus is becoming ever more difficult. The word project has all but replaced the word photograph as the quantity measure of what a photographer does today. “So, what’s your project?” the portfolio reviewer asks. Not, “May I see your photographs?”

© Arno Rafael Minkkinen. New City, New York, 1971

Projects have a starting point, a midlife, and a conclusion. Pathways are free of such constraints; they just have a beginning from which a lifetime vision can emerge; so, works from one decade can hang beside those made in another. In its basic form, the process begins with a single image to which is added a second image to test connectivity and establish nexus, the same, yet different. But with just two images, it’s human nature to compare them for which is better, and thus we’re back to one. The solution? Add a third. That’s when a pathway starts to emerge, a way of seeing and working from which we can imagine a fourth iteration, a fifth, another year, another decade, and more: a lifetime of diverse works always containing the crucial common denominator: the vision of the artist.

It’s called the Power of Three and simply requires respect for the conundrum that similarity and difference coexist in the best of what we do. Creating that balance is the secret for going the distance.


We’ll meet every morning, just after a few first light images are made and breakfast has been satisfied. Discussion will be led by the teacher but also by the images. Pathway modifications, as well, will be suggested by students and instructor alike. Afternoons are devoted to individual meetings and independent shooting. Mid-week, a thing called Stop and Shoot, takes us on journey north, south, and east of Rockport. Where we go is all determined by the flip of a coin, giving chance a possibility to become a collaborator in the development of a singular pathway. Yours.

©Arno Rafael Minkkinen, Kerttu, Koli, Finland 2011


Header Image Credit © Arno Rafael Minkkinen
Continental Divide at Independence Pass, Colorado, 2012
Courtesy Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York

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Instructor: Arno Rafael Minkkinen

Arno is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Minkkinen was awarded the Order of the Lion First Class Medal from the Finnish Government in 1993, the 25th Rencontres d’Arles Book Prize for Waterline in 1994, the 2006 Finnish State Art Prize in Photography, the 2013 Lucie Award for Achievement in Fine Art, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 2015. On December 6th, 2017, the 100th Anniversary of Finnish Independence, Minkkinen received the Pro Finlandia Medal, the highest cultural honor bestowed by Finland in literature, dance, music, and the arts. His work is included in collections at the Musée d’art moderne and the Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris, the Musée de l’Élysée in Lausanne, the Contemporary Art Museum Kiasma in Helsinki, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography.