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Contemplating Time, Ann Francis, Ireland

HE AUTHOR Petri Damstén is a dark art photographer and nerd from Kuopio, Finland. His passion for photography started after retiring from his day job as a software engineer, and he now explores the darker side of life through his art. His images are often moody, surreal, and unsettling, with self-portraiture playing a significant role in his work. As a result, he has experience both behind and in front of the camera. Petri has won numerous awards for his photography in Finland and internationally, including being a Fotofinlandia finalist and receiving the PX3 Gold award in Paris, France.   

THE EXHIBITION I got my first inspiration for this series while listening to my favourite metal band, Sentenced. It evolved to a collection of images of what a dark mind might look like from the inside. All the destructive thoughts that circulate in your brain and feelings that bring you down. The dark room inside of your own head. After I began to put images online, comments that said some of these images remind them of their own thoughts started to appear. Especially feelings that the covid-19 isolation has brought to the surface for many people. This series continues my work on images that handle mental health issues. In 2009 I was forced to retire from daily work because of depression. Since then, photography has played a significant role in my life as a therapy. Many  people might think that images as dark as these get you down, but it's the contrary. And here we come back to the metal band Sentenced, whose songs started this series. They often had very dark and touching lyrics. After the band  had retired, I read that several fans told them that their songs saved their lives.                                                                                                             

Petri Damstén

The Exhibition - September 2023