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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.