Jorma Puranen has become known for his works that arouse considerations spanning the past and the present. His subject matter has ranged from illustrations of scholarly works and ethnographic photographs to historical portraiture, which points of departure are often found in archives or museums. Puranen has an undisciplined approach to archives – fragmentary rather than systematic. His method has also proposed fictive interpretations of his themes.
In his recent works, Puranen expresses a strong interest in 18th century landscape paintings by well-known Scandinavian artists such as Gustav Werner Holmberg and Peder Balke. He depicts archival reproductions of the original paintings, therewith transferring them into a contemporary context.
In Puranen’s work, the photograph becomes a place for readdressing a fluid past. His photographs are both of the past and the present. In Roland Barthes’ terms, there and then becomes an existence of here and now.
In Puranen’s photographs, the reflection of light serves to mediate the images and functions as their metaphor. It has often covered or blurred our access to images; thus adding layers of uncertainty to historical objects. It could be said that reflection as such is Puranen’s theme. In fact, he appears to be saying that light is the only reality to which the photograph has access. Light that is coming from in front of the camera.