Aino Väänänen (b. 1986) is a Finnish documentary photographer based in London.
After finishing her MA at the University of Helsinki in 2013, Aino started pursuing a career in documentary photography. Through work that focuses on minorities and human rights issues, she aims to explore the humanity which connects us all. Her unique method of combining intimate portraits with detailed, forensic-like documentary photographs provides a compassionate view that invites the viewer to explore stories of underrepresented humanity.
Aino is currently working on a personal project in Romania, documenting the lives of women at high risk of HIV living in Bucharest and their encounters with the team of social workers who visit these survivors day in and day out.
Her debut project True Citizens, telling the stories of second-generation immigrants living in Finland and UK, was chosen as part of 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) and UK (London).
“Untrue Finns is a strong and clear idea sparked by Aino’s personal point of view. She wants to question stereotypes and she does it with an equally
clear and strong visual style. That really makes the body of work coherent.”
- Mads Nissen, Photographer, World Press Photo Award winner 2014
Selected publications and exhibitions
Solo Exhibition True Citizens in Izhevsk, Russia
Photographic Prints in Group Exhibition, London (Bankside Gallery)
VICE, HIV crisis in Romania
Solo Exhibition True Citizens in Kazan (Yeltsin Center)
Solo Exhibition True Citizens in Saint Petersburg (Finnish Institute of Culture)
Solo Exhibition True Citizens in Moscow (Centre for Creative Industries "Fabrika")
Solo Exhibition True Citizens in Yakutsk
Group Exhibition Photo Month in London (Richmix Gallery)
Solo Exhibition True Finns in Murmansk (Barents Bird Cultural Festival)