Presentation

Biography

Graduated in 1981 with a master’s in history and social science from Roskilde University. A teacher at various upper secondary educations, most recently at Viborg Cathedral School, 1993-2017. 2003, Contemporary middle east studies at The University of Sothern Denmark. Photos for several books and magazines.

Travels in several countries funded by DANIDA among others, and many lectures about these trips including Afghanistan, Iran, South Sudan, Vietnam and Mozambique.Tour guide in Rome for The Classical Scholars’ Travel Association.

Presently, working with photo exhibitions and lectures. During the past 20 years I have worked a great deal with photography. My point of departure has been my travels in Europe and the rest of the world. My photos has been the pivotal point in my talks. I utilize both my university training and my background as a photographer to find my personal aesthetics in presenting my messages with my photographs.

Written about Finn Christensen (in Tom Jørgensen – 101 Artists, 2019)

The one who takes his or her time to enter Finn Christensen’s photographic universe will experience a world where transient and intangible sensation is given room to flourish. The transient sensation is at times underlines with the mist that floats in several of Finn Christensen’s landscapes. It creates a sense of quietness,of disquietingease, of absence. Absence of sound, of people, of clear-cut outlines. We are left with a sense of quietness and of veiled beauty, however, it never is without shapes: Outlines in fog bank, directions and geometric shapes in barely visible hills, and a sole angular and distant house on a hilltop gives structure and composition to the works. On the cotton paper, the landscapes assume a palpable sensation, which practically creates doubt about the material and about the reality that vibrates quietly at the spectator: What is hiding in the fog; are the greys nature’s own colours or are they due to the photographer’s own hand?What will happen when the fog is clearing; when transience come to an end?

Likewise, this mysticism is experienced in other deserted photos, where the colours are saturated and almost glaring in some sort of overexposure.Once more, the spectator is forced to consider the scene: Why is there no one here, why is the sky bluish black, and is a disaster waiting to happen; or are we in a ghost town and has the disaster already happened? This is the way it is with many of Finn Christensen’s landscapes: They strike a mood which compels the spectator to interact both with herself and the work to suggest various ‘befores’ and ‘afters’ of the moment Christensen presents to her.

Moments are also presented in Christensen’s portraits. The term ‘portrait’ may not be appropriate as they are not traditional portraits where the subject poses in a certain way and looks at the photographer with trusting or daring stare. It is rather the photographer’s glance at a person, who, in the very moment the finger presses the trigger, is self-contained looking the other way, turning her back on something, passing by or glancing at someone who possibly may be the photographer. These people are withdrawn and occupied with something; they are, like the landscapes, characterized by mysticism and turning away which seems both defiant and modest. Thus, several of Christensen’s female portraits appear to be erotic. They are sensual and erotic exactly because the photographed women do not pose, but by the camera are halted in a motion or in a posture, which seems unconscious. Thus, we experience erotic moments, almost infatuated gazes from the photographer who transmits his gaze to the spectator. The women don’t know. They appeared in one place in a single moment, often blurred and turned away from the photographer.

Finn Christensen has travelled a great deal and he finds many of his motifs in the Middle East, e.g. in Iran or Afghanistan. Often other photographers portray these war-torn areas and their people either as perpetrators or victims, but this is not the case for Christensen. He is interested in these strangers as human beings. In these photographs the glance often meets the photographer’s lens directly but as the intention is not to point to injustice or a tale of woe, these photographs do these people justice. We see them as human beings with their own individuality.

It is worth remembering that Christensen’s photographs are not only mysticism and atmosphere. They are also composition. This is also the case for the photographs of people who often communicate with the spectator, both through the captured often erotic moment and through the retention of the same moment in a structure of black and white contrasts, of angles, of encircling frames, of symmetrical mirages. This is Christensen’s photographs: transient, alluring atmosphere and play with form and structure.


Jan Hupfeldt Nielsen, Senior Lecturer, Danish, Italian, and Spanish.