At the Root of an Image by Harri Laakso 

There are plants in my photographs – leaves, roots, flowers. They are viewed as individuals, objects, portraits, almost three-dimensionally. The important thing about the pictures is not the narrative but form, colour, structure, "fluoroscopy”, the opportunity to look at the surface and beyond it.

Every image gestures in some way that it is an image. An image opens up and offers itself as image. It exposes itself to me, like a plant exposes itself to the weather. Images and flowers have a clandestine bond, an eternal union. Jean-Luc Nancy says this quite bluntly: An image brings distance close to us, to our very skin, à fleur de peau, our touch-sensitive surface. That is the way in which images are intimate from a distance. Like silk on skin.

The petals of the China rose, like the finest fabrics, fold uniquely in comparison to their neighbour. They have the same intense colour anywhere in the world, and yet are always different. That is the immemorial past of the China rose. Man too has to get accustomed to sharing distant things, often without recognizing what they have in common. And they are no further than each thing in an image always is. Flowers, and perhaps man too, have the capacity to be different in the same way.

This text is an excerpt from the essay "At the Root of an Image” by Harri Laakso on Marjukka Vainio’s work