Juuso Hamalainen, AKA, Juuso HD is a 23 year old, Finland based, self-taught photographer and visual artist. As Illustrate's first photographer, Juuso captures stunning scenery from around the world to inspire people to travel and enjoy the wonders of nature.
We managed to catch up with Juuso and ask him a few questions on where he finds his inspiration and how the Finnish nature influences his work...
Q: How old are you?
A: 23 years old
Q: Where are you based?
A: Finland, I lived my first 20 years in city called Kuopio, after that 1 year in Tampere and 2 and half years ago I moved to another city called Porvoo where I didn't know anyone. I felt like I needed to spend some time alone to get to know myself better.
Q: So, when did you know that you would be an artist?
A: After I got my first camera when I was 14 years old, I knew I wanted to do photography and nothing else. I didn't know how to do it as a profession but I just knew I wanted to it. About 3-4 years ago I really started seeing that it can actually be possible when I realized the power of social media.
Q: How long did it take to refine your personal style?
A: I think you will start refining your personal style at the moment you decide to not care what other people thinks about your style and do it the way you enjoy it. For me it has been gradual, I feel like it's always been unique in some ways but for a long time I tried creating what I thought other people likes seeing. Maybe about 3 years ago when I really gave myself a "permission" to edit my photos more without thinking about what others will think. Before that I was too scared to edit my photos more because of what others would think and it wasn't fun anymore.
Q: Who are your inspirations, not just artists?
A: The painter Bob Ross, his attitude, energy and art are just amazing. Some of my photographer friends has inspired me like Konsta Punkka and Mikko Lagerstedt with their work and success. Sometimes random people who I meet inspire me with their new ideas and great energy. Usually I get inspiration from music, nature, meditation, movies and games.
Q: Do you have a favourite spot to work in?
A: One thing I love about my work is that I get to work in so many places all around the world. But yes, when I'm home and editing photos or answering to emails I usually go to one of the few cafés in my town (like at the moment). If i'm in another city, I like to search for a cafe with an inspirational atmosphere.
Q: Do you have a dream workshop/studio?
A: I would love to have some photogenic cabin in some beautiful forest where I could get creative.
Q: When you're taking pictures and editing is there a particular idea you always look to portray?
A: I usually try to show the magical, mystical, peaceful feeling that you can experience when you are still with nature around you.
Q: What are the unique struggles of working with your chosen medium?
A: Sometimes I have ideas or visions for art but I don't have the skill to do them (yet).
Q: What's your favourite part of working with this medium?
A: I can create new worlds and create the scenes I see in my dreams and share with others. Inspiring other people is my favorite thing.
Q: On average, how long does one of your pieces take to complete?
A: 2-8 hours
Q: A genie springs from a bottle, what are your three wishes?
A: Make people more open minded, make it impossible to lie, reverse the climate change
Q: If you could transform into an animal which one would you choose?
A: Probably a raven. They are smart, look cool and can fly.
Q: You aren't an artist, what are you doing instead?
A: A chef. I love cooking.
Q: Finally, any advice for aspiring artists?
A: Stay true to yourself, it takes some courage to do but when you are doing what feels right for you and what you enjoy, you will channel your own uniqueness and beauty to your work. Learn techniques from others but come up with new ways to use them.