Aino Väänänen is a documentary photographer based in Finland
After finishing her MA at the University of Helsinki in 2013, she started pursuing a career in documentary photography.
Her curiosity towards other humans has led her to take portraits, which she finds a task that is simultaneously challenging and compelling. The stories she explores and documents are framed in intimate portraits as well as detailed, forensic-like documentary photographs. Her gaze is a compassionate one with an intention to invite viewers to explore stories of underrepresented humanity.
At the end of 2020 Aino started her own photography magazine We Shall See to to support and promote independent artists whose work deserves to be seen.
From the Shadows - her current personal project - documents the lives of women at high risk of HIV living in Bucharest and their encounters with the team of social workers from the Romanian Anti-aids association (ARAS) who visit these survivors day in and day out.
Her debut project True Citizens, which told the stories of second-generation immigrants living in Finland and UK, was included in the official programme of the 100th anniversary of Finnish Independence, and with the support of Finnish Embassy in Moscow was widely exhibited in Russia (Moscow, Kazan, Izhevsk, Murmansk, Yakutsk, Saint Petersburg) and UK (London).
True Citizens is an idea inspired by Aino’s own experiences. She wants to question stereotypes and does it with a clear and strong visual style. That really makes the body of work coherent.
Mads Nissen, Photographer, World Press Photo Award winner 2014