The beginning and development of Arttu Kuoppala's visual career


At the age of ten, in 2016, Arttu Kuoppala received his first camera as a Christmas present from his family, inspired by his father. Arttu's father, Markus, had already started taking photographs at the turn of the millennium and developed from a travel photographer to a professional photographer. Seeing his father photographing and editing his pictures, over the years, also sparked an interest in Arttu and so Arttu decided to pick up a camera.

Initially, Arttu's photography was to focus on nature and animals, but also on static, easy-to-photograph subjects, as learning how to use the camera and its functions required ease of shooting. Arttu almost always took his camera with him when he went on a longer trip, and sometimes just when he stepped out the front door. Father Markus encouraged Arttu to shoot with a manual mode and to learn how to operate the camera in order to understand more about how photographs are made and what affects them. Arttu did as he was told.

The first few years went by slowly, before the basic principles of camera operation had become familiar. Arttu went on to photograph a few events including the World Ski Championships in Lahti, his hometown, in 2017. The following year, Arttu worked as part of the media team at the Red Bull 400 event. Those were the first moments when Arttu had a person as the main subject of his photos.

The following years passed without any special twists and turns in terms of photography. The camera ended up accompanying him to only a few events, and in his free time he was no longer interested in taking pictures on his own initiative. Arttu spent the summer of 2021 working as part of the Päijät-Häme welfare area's communications team. In addition to photography, the job description included updating the social media of the welfare area and producing various content. For Arttu, however, photography still meant nothing more important, and at that time his photos did not yet have any personality.

In 2022 something changed. Arttu started to learn about branding and started to build a brand for himself. The first step was to create a logo that would make his images recognizable. Read more about the evolution of the logo here: The logo

Arttu and a good friend of his recruited through fraudulent means to be members of the media for that year's Lahti Ski Games. The duo wore the media's typical outfits and carried their cameras proudly in front of people, creating a sense of credibility. Arttu experienced a new emotion that he had completely missed in previous years of photography - opportunity. As a photographer, he had the chance to get into places where others could not, to evoke emotions in people by pointing the camera at them, and to capture moments permanently, where others would only have their memories of events.

After processing the photos from the Lahti Ski Games, Arttu was in contact via social media with some of the athletes he had photographed, with some of whom Arttu had discussions about the use of the photos. Arttu received compliments and interest. He found that there was a need, a use and an appreciation for his photos. This inspired Arttu to take more photos. Around the same time, Arttu contacted the Päijät-Häme welfare area's communications team and secured a summer job for the second year in a row with the same employer.

After Finland won the Ice Hockey World Championship in 2022, Arttu went to Lahti Square to photograph the action. The night at the square didn't offer much light, so Arttu had to give up for the first time on technically perfect photography. Arttu was so pleased with the results that he intended to continue to give up on "perfection" in the future.

The summer job allowed Arttu to be creative with his photographs, as the style of the images was almost undefined. As the demand for images in the welfare area was high, Arttu had time to practice and develop his own style of photography and image processing. Feedback on the images was consistently positive and appreciative. While working during the summer, Arttu started a new personal project, building his own website. He had been studying web design for a few months and started to code his own website after his workdays.

After posting more artistic and experimental images on social media, Arttu got the attention of a well-known professional in the field. Kanye West's personal videographer Nico Ballesteros expressed interest in the images Arttu posted.

Arttu had been interested in becoming an entrepreneur for some time, so over the summer he decided to take things to the next level and became a sole trader. The timing was just right, as Arttu received an offer through his summer work to photograph a pole dancing studio's anniversary event. Entrepreneurship started immediately with an important opportunity, which Arttu handled with honor.

Together with his father, Arttu went to photograph a small music event, Pensuo Blues, towards the end of the summer. The atmosphere at the event was intimate and good-humored, where as Arttu moved with the camera he realized he was partly recording a story, not just individual images. The event organizers later contacted Arttu and his father, thanking him for the photos and offering Arttu his next shooting opportunity as a photographer for a new music event, as well as making a gig poster. Arttu accepted the job and got his first taste of printing work.

At the end of 2022, Arttu shot a few music videos and worked on a couple of personal projects. The year 2022 was a defining year for Arttu Kuoppala, when he found the right style of photography for him and the best possible subject - people.

Opportunities and projects changed greatly the following year. Arttu found himself again in the communications team of the Päijät-Häme welfare area. In addition, Arttu and his camera were invited to many private parties and events, where things got wild at times. At these events Arttu got to practice meeting people as a photographic subject and deepened his passion as a storyteller and photographer. He also learned a lot of new skills from videography and lighting to branding and web design.

As the year is only a little over halfway through, it is very likely that Arttu's artistic career will experience some major turns during this year alone.

In the future, Arttu wants to work more with companies and major actors in order to spread his professionalism to a wider audience. Arttu's goal is to make a name for himself as a professional artist whose expertise can be trusted by a wide range of actors and entities.

05.08.2023 01:40