About me

The short version aka. Janne Aavasalo in a shell of a nut

In short my name is Janne Aavasa­lo and I’m a pho­tog­ra­ph­er based in Turku, Fin­land.

I was born in 1981 and I’m a Sagit­tar­ius.

Janne Aavasalo - Old school Olympus OM1

The “slightly” longer version

In the longer ver­sion I can tell you that I’ve always liked doing cre­ative work. And even as a young boy I appre­ci­at­ed pho­tog­ra­phy immense­ly as an art form. Ever since I can remem­ber my father has owned an Olym­pus OM-1 SLR-cam­era. It used to be this real­ly cool thing when I was younger. I even used it on a few occa­sions. But shoot­ing film and not real­ly know­ing any­thing about pho­tog­ra­phy is an expen­sive hob­by. So the inter­est had been there for a long time, but I didn’t acknowl­edge it until quite a while lat­er. In 2006 I bought my first dig­i­tal cam­era to doc­u­ment a cus­tom PC build for a project log thread. This in turn made pho­tog­ra­phy a part of my life.

Janne Aavasalo - Evolution to revolution

From humble beginnings

That first cam­era was the Fuji FinePix S5600 which is a sort of a bridge cam­era. It looks a bit like a DSLR, but boy does it feel like a toy when I pick it up now. My first real DSLR cam­era was the Olym­pus E-520 with two kit lens­es. I bought the sys­tem in 2008 and it was the cam­era which real­ly got me inter­est­ed in pho­tog­ra­phy and not just tak­ing snap­shots here and there. I’m main­ly an out­door pho­tog­ra­ph­er, so after a while I start­ed to yearn for bet­ter weath­er seal­ing and a more robust aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem. I upgrad­ed the body to the Olym­pus E-3 and also added sev­er­al Zuiko lens­es to the line­up.

When Olym­pus announced that they wouldn’t devel­op the orig­i­nal Four Thirds sys­tem any fur­ther, I trad­ed them in for Canon gear in 2010. At this point I didn’t like the direc­tion where Olym­pus as a com­pa­ny was head­ing.

The era of Canon

Dur­ing my Canon days I first went from a new Canon 7D to an old­er, used, but full-frame Canon 1Ds MkII. I made the swap because my copy of the 7D was suf­fer­ing bad­ly from aut­o­fo­cus issues. Also, I wasn’t over the moon hap­py with the image qual­i­ty. The 1Ds MkII on the oth­er hand was the cam­era, which shaped my pho­tog­ra­phy the most. It was old, beat­en up, but I loved to shoot with it. After the shut­ter on it gave up the ghost in 2016 I had to gath­er up mon­ey for months to get a new body. In the begin­ning of 2017 I end­ed up with a new Canon 5D MkIV. Sad­ly this body nev­er felt good in my hands and more impor­tant­ly, it didn’t make me want to go out and shoot.

There and back again

In Decem­ber of 2017 I decid­ed to buy a cam­era that I could lug around dai­ly. It need­ed to be small and light, but still pro­duce the kind of qual­i­ty I could live with. I also want­ed an elec­tron­ic viewfind­er. These fac­tors great­ly lim­it­ed my options. Point and shoot-type cam­eras wouldn’t do, even the pricey options with bet­ter lens­es, since I could get a mir­ror­less cam­era with inter­change­able lens­es for the same mon­ey. In the end I picked up the Fuji X-T20 with a kit lens. I had basi­cal­ly done a full 360 and I was shoot­ing with a Fuji once again.

I feared that I had made anoth­er pur­chase, which wouldn’t evoke any cre­ative feel­ings when I first start­ed using the cam­era. The wor­ry soon evap­o­rat­ed after I pur­chased or actu­al­ly swapped the kit lens and some mon­ey for the Fuji­non XF 90mm f/2 lens. I was sold to the idea of going ful­ly with Fuji after the first time I shot with the com­bo.

Smoke and mirrorless

Dif­fer­ing from Olym­pus, Canon didn’t actu­al­ly announce any­thing (of inter­est) at the time. Again I found a rea­son for not lik­ing the direc­tion where Canon as a com­pa­ny was head­ing. I trad­ed my Canon gear in for a full Fuji sys­tem in 2018. It’s been a long road and who knows what’s going to hap­pen in the future. For now I can say that I’m con­tent with the sys­tem and besides a wide angle zoom, I’m set.

Chang­ing sys­tems allowed me to also change the way I shoot in a way. Fuji has a real­ly com­pre­hen­sive selec­tion of prime lens­es, so I filled my “wide end” with those. So the only zoom lens­es I own at the moment are the Fuji­non XF 50–140mm and the Fuji­non XF 100–400mm. Every­thing else from 16mm up to 90mm are cov­ered with prime lens­es.

Janne Aavasalo - Dog wondering: "Can I eat niche?"

Finding a niche

What’s fun­ny to me is that there seems to be a gen­er­al con­sen­sus that a pho­tog­ra­ph­er should find a niche and a “visu­al style” of their own and stick with it. On one hand I do think there might be a grain of wis­dom in the con­cept. But on the oth­er hand I think that “Only dead fish go with the flow”. Keep­ing that in mind, I’ve tried to keep all nich­es and “visu­al styles” open for myself. I’ve also taught myself to be pro­fi­cient enough to han­dle pret­ty much any sit­u­a­tion that comes along my way. These fac­tors make up the pho­to­graph­ic style (or lack there­of) of Janne Aavasa­lo today.

Janne Aavasalo - Dog saying: I'm naturally black and white

Favorite subjects

And while my niche might be not find­ing a niche, of course I have favorite sub­jects I like to pho­to­graph. At heart I’m a nature pho­tog­ra­ph­er and water in its dif­fer­ent forms is prob­a­bly the sub­ject I feel clos­est to. I love black and white pho­tog­ra­phy part­ly for the her­itage it has, but also for the way a black and white pho­to­graph makes one see it. You begin to notice dif­fer­ent things and nuances in a pho­to­graph when the col­or infor­ma­tion is stripped away.

In closing

Truth be told, at first I didn’t quite know what to write in the “about” sec­tion. But for some rea­son in the end I found it hard to con­tain the words in a rea­son­able space. Hope­ful­ly the above lines helped you to under­stand a bit what I’m all about. I hope you’ll enjoy my work and web­site.

-Janne Aavasa­lo