Just anybody

mobile motive

“The mobile phone is a little technological wonder that most of us carry all the time.

I have used its camera function to produce a new body of work ( 2007-2010), which deals with the fact that we can get photographed anywhere at any time. We can be snapped and stored in files and archives kept by anybody; perhaps to be placed in a new context within seconds after the snapshot. To take photographs today demands no skills and it costs nothing if you just have a mobile phone – a camera is a normal extra function.

I find myself going back to basics as a photographer to consider/study my professional ethics when facing the fact, that people everywhere take images like never before. I am questioning the motive when using images on other people even in artistic purpose. I push myself to study, where does the ethical limit go for my self. The mobile is like an observing eye. It is very quick to capture an image, unnoticed by most people. It can all be very innocent, fun to share moments etc but I find the phenomena somehow unpleasant. When I am looking at the image of a strange face or family on my computer screen, I get a specific feeling that is related to guilt. Photography is complicated. We know that context is everything.

I have also experienced a new feeling of worry when making these images. Irrelevant perhaps -or is it a sign that something essential has changed with the new technology? I found myself wondering what does a photograph of a person actually represent and why is it taken? For example, images of children used to be seen as part of a “celebration of life”. Today, when asking permission to take a photograph of a child, I find – instead of proud parents – fear. It seems to me that people are relatively aware of the possible misuse of images. I am worried of the fact that a persons integrity is perhaps permanently lost in a public space.

There lies a paradox in this series: I love photographs on people and have already been taken all these images. I see my new body of work Just anybody as a provocation to study closer this phenomena of our time -loss of image control is already here.”

Method: I use my feeling of guilt as a starting point when deciding which images I consider as “free” and which images could be “forbidden”. I draw white lines and white marks on those images that I maybe should not have taken or that I should be careful with. In fact, I play with self censure.

The mobile that I use is a few years old. The images still have that special digital structure that I find fascinating. They have a visual language of their own which is different from the perfect camera shots produced by new mobiles.

I am taking snapshots with my mobile. Later I study my images and their details on my computer screen. Just like anybody else.”


Catalog Just Anybody_Absent Minds cat. Renja Leino


text by Paul Sweetman                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Dr Paul Sweetman is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology in the School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton. His research interests centre around issues relating to the body, identity, fashion and consumption, subcultures and visual methods and methodology.

Renja Leino was an Art Council England International Research Fellow managed by Fotonet at The Winchester Gallery, Winchester School of Art, UK 2007.


Technique: By mobile phone camera. Digital print, glossy laminated on Dipond.


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Happy Hour

Happy Hour video 2:02h
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End of Euphoria

A crashed car was painted in glossy white and set in a parking lot surrounded by ordinary cars. “What a hell is that?!”

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Sound work, stories about Wind

Natural phenomena, the changes in the weather and the climate, have a heightened affect on the everyday of the islanders compared to the urban communities. One of the stories…

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Absent minds

Absent Minds & Just Anybody are focusing on the phenomena of digital invasion and its effects into our lives. Both series by a mobile phone camera since 2005-

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I was sitting on a bus watching the scenery go by, when suddenly a strange building flashed before my eyes. The next time I passed the same place I was ready to take a better look at the object. The bubble-shaped building was still there but somehow altered.

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Birds Pub Vol. 1-3

When observing wild creatures the circle of life starts to imperceptibly close up, and all the roar of the world and everything else fades away: there is only this moment. Birds Pub OnLine was the first public presentation of this new body of work.

Black and White

Sometimes I still work with B/W, mostly with unique Fotograms and different combinations with negatives, usually on FB paper. I am experimenting with chemistry and old papers possibilities.

Greenery On Loan

When walking in the forest and meeting this installation you could see the light glimmering, the rain gathering on the mirror surfices. It was showing the sky and the growing trees crowns… or your face.

Just anybody

“I am taking snapshots with my mobile. Later I study my images and their details on my computer screen. Just like anybody else.”

Sea Frills

Sea Frills installation under Cathedral Bridge in Turku 2011. Flux Aura was an art event organized by Turku Artist Association. Turku, European Capital of Culture 2011 Material: Thousands of reflectors. Sponsor Hella Lightning Finland.