Jouko Lehtola was trained as a photographer at the University of Industrial Art and worked as a press photographer. Lehtola lived in Helsinki.
During his education Lehtola contributed to several solo and group exhibitions as well as biennials of audiovisual art. In 1995 he began his inquiry into the lifestyles of young Finns in the series Young Heroes.
He has subsequently exhibited in several European venues, including the 2001 Venice Biennial. In Denmark Young Heroes premiered at the exhibition "Organising Freedom: Nordic Art in the 90s" at Charlottenborg, Copenhagen (2000).
Jouko Lehtola is represented in several museums in Scandinavia, including Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Finnish Museum of Photography and Helsinki City Art Museum.