Of Finnish origin and raised in the heart of Kent, Kai completed his National Service in the Finnish Army at the age of 19 in 1994 where his love for photography first emerged, after discovering that although shooting a rifle was fun, shooting with a 35mm SLR camera gave better results. Kai first started using photography to document his experiences for family and friends during his 12 months service in Helsinki, Finland.
Changed by these experiences, Kai returned home and shortly afterwards moved to Bath to study photography, where he became inspired and influenced by the striking, stylistic approaches of street photographers such as Lee Friedlander, Elliot Erwitt, Garry Winogrand and Daido Moriyama.
Amongst Kai’s other passions are skateboarding and snowboarding, and for the latter Kai spent several seasons in the Tirol region of Austria after securing a job of assistant ski school photographer and later becoming the official photographer covering events, races and promotion for the local press and selling prints to the public. With the passage of time and an inconvenient onset of vertigo, the snowboard was laid to rest and Kai embarked on new adventures.
Another integral part of Kai is his sense of adventure, and much of his favourite times are spent on the road in his campers, discovering the highroads and byroads of the Kent, Sussex and Devon countryside and coasts. While these images are not largely found in his galleries, Kai shares snippets of these adventures in his blog.
Over the years Kai has enjoyed various successes including:
Throughout his adventures, which started from his National Service in the arctic tundra, Kai has developed many key photographic styles, which can be seen throughout his works. Kai has also recently built a photographic studio, and has created a clean and light creative space for himself and other photographers to use.
Between his workshop and studio in Lewes, and his new home in Hastings, Kai is discovering new ways of image making, using both analog and digital photography.
By Mary Simkins