Jorma Puranen is one of the leading conceptual artists using photography as their medium in the Nordic region. In his Icy Prospects series beginning in 2005, Puranen creatively merges aspects of mythology, history and dream-like landscapes with the fascination with the Arctic notion of the North Pole and polar exploration. His images reflect a place that is borderless, floating in time, a reminder to the volume that is associated with the concept of infinite immensity and the unknown. Puranen states "For over fifteen years I have been engaged in landscape related projects in which I have aimed to generally prevent the beholders from the opportunity of directly admiring the scenery by putting something in between them and the subject”.
With Icy Prospects, Puranen masterly uses a wooden board hand-paintedly lacquered in black to be held up as a mirror. Through this he handles to catch the reflected space behind the camera, that seemingly wavers between a painting and a photograph. This series was inspired by a group of documentary-like lacquered paintings on wood, depicting a 17th century French-Nordic exploration above the Arctic circle. Puranen, who accidentally discovered these while researching for another project in Paris, used them metaphorically as his imaginary guide to retrace the explorations route as a means to reinterpret a 17th century painting with the 21st century’s light. He affirms "by contrasting landscapes of the past and present, the photographs of Icy Prospects address the resources of photography to speak of the levels of memory and history. They also provide the expression of the sublime, the picturesque, the mysterious and the unknown”.