Foreword by Timothy Persons

Timo Kelaranta has worn many different creative hats throughout his career: writer, poet, professor and artist. However, the one that fits best for me is mentor.

The House of Poets represents a collection of images that have been arranged to inspire us to feel how a lifetime of experience combined with a heart full of thought can transform any given moment. More importantly, it defines a new voice in visual poetry. These selected photographs float from the materials from which they were constructed. Nothing is what it appears to be. They radiate with a sensibility that translates into a personal language which Kelaranta has been using for the past thirty years. They are perhaps best described as compositions in space suspended in time, silent poems. 

He uses he titles of his photographs as a way to release their potency, enhancing the flavour each image carries. He utilizes his surroundings as potential material for constructing visual compositions. In the same way that Walker Evans used signs and advertisements within his pictures to unveil an alternative meaning, Kelaranta reverses the obvious by abstracting the story from its apparent associations. In both cases, it is not about objectifying the moment of perception but sculpting it to fit into their poetic interpretations. 

The House of Poets is a book that goes beyond the borders of its binding. It becomes an object that magnifies a sensitivity mixed with a creative curiosity that forms the essence of the author. This aesthetic chemistry is best exemplified by Kelaranta's black-and-white photographs of extended tree branches, as they stretch to scratch the sky. In this series, he touches the spirit of Harry Callahan by pulling our view through their intertwinings as they try to hold on to the infinite by the limits of their flimsy limbs. These photographs feel like small whispers teasing the marrow of your soul. His images emit a sense of reluctant solitude, as in Este camino largo (This Long Road). Here, we experience a small isolated cloud suspended by an open sea horizon. It is as if the cloud is waiting for a journey to go anywhere with only a slight sea breeze for a companion. His is a world we all wish to see but rarely find. This publication helps us by providing us with the poetry to understand his world.

This text was published in: The House of Poets, Heidelberg: Kehrer Verlag 2014.