Anniina Joensalo



“Tender” is an exploration into the contradictions inherent in queer lives and loves. I want to explore all aspects of intimacy in a non-normative way and in non-normative settings. In this series I’ve captured the people around me, my friends, partners and lovers. I’m inspired by the space queer people take up everyday, and the work they undertake in love and friendship. I am compelled to get as close to people as possible. My objective was to portray power balances between subject and photographer, to show the juxtaposition of tenderness and violence. “Tender” aims to bring up questions of intimacy and consent within these queer relationships where individuals are often pushing the boundaries of love and sex in anarchic ways.



Queer people are often subject to violences in their early lives, forced to fight for an identity and to push against binaries. Often through these hardships they become more in touch with their narratives and their needs. Their paths are sometimes beautiful, sometimes sad. Usually consisting of polarizing extremities, from anxiety to pure bliss. What lies between these tensions is calmness; a moment of reaching peaceful intimacy with another after a long wait of uncertainty. These moments of tenderness are full of power, where queer expression is encouraged and accepted. These are portraits of queerness I want to showcase.




Short Bio

Careers like a photographer didn’t exist where I grew up. The world around me and the people in it were executing a perfect working class life of teachers, nurses, and factory workers. I was watching them in awe: they were on autopilot; blissfully unaware. Go to school, find a boy, get married, have a nice house and kids. This was the narrative I was given and it was supported by all the stories I was exposed to. In the abundance of visual storytelling my responsibility as an artist is to give emphasis to the meaningful ones. I should find and bring out the stories that wouldn’t be heard otherwise, to this audience that wouldn’t be exposed to them. My mission as a photographer is exploring stories in which the identities of different kinds of people are represented. My objective is to explore and portray a lifestyle outside of the patriarchal, capitalist and heteronormative structures of couples, romance and religious norms. I want our identity to be represented to the future queer generation growing up. I want our love stories. This “Queer Way of Living” is my own personal utopia that I chose to believe in.


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The Fujifilm/Young Talent Award is supported by Fujifilm