In his art Jouko Lehtola explores various aspects of today's Finnish youth identity which appears as a combination of global trends and Nordic characteristics. The pictures spotlight the young people's carousing in the light summer nights.
Young Heroes, 1995-96
The series Young Heroes comprises four photographs depicting teenagers at an open-air concert. The photos emphasise the relationships between the kids and their more or less conscious poses for the camera. One of the pictures shows two young boys with their arms around each other, obviously intoxicated and wearing wet trousers. Another is a close-up of a battered boy, badly bruised. A third photograph presents a girl with carefully applied makeup; unlike the boys she is all set for the party.
The series Young Heroes comprises a total of 49 photographs which were shown in 2000 at the exhibition 'Organising Freedom'.
About the work
Lehtola's extensive photo series Young Heroes portrays young teenagers partying in the Finnish summer. It is early morning, and the night has left its unmistakable marks. The kids are drunk, bruised and dirty; some have found a one-night stand, others have been in fights.
Jouko Lehtola's art in general
Lehtola's photographs are documentary, almost sociological depictions of a world made for and by the young people. The artist was a photographer for rock bands in Finland before he got the idea of turning the camera on the audience rather than the band. In 1995 he started seeking out discotheques, raves and festivals in the country. The Young Heroes series focuses on the kids' facial expressions, actions and gestures while enduring a night of love, desire, anger, energy, insecurity and innocence.
Several of Lehtola's other photo series have more restraint and sense of arrangement. Here we are not at the crucial moment of action; instead the photographs function as proof of particular experiences and a specific life. Common to Lehtola's pictures is his interest in the people he photographs.
Jouko Lehtola trained as a photographer at the University of Industrial Art and has worked as a press photographer. Lehtola still lives.....