Swedish artist and photographer Pekka Järventaus was born in Gothenburg in 1976. Järventaus originally had a background as an artist in the video game industry. But during an African safari some years ago, he discovered his deep passion for photography and for wild animals. While his subject is the lions themselves, Järventaus also injects his artistic vision into the images. He strives to go beyond documentation and to convey the magical, mysterious quality of lions that speaks to him most strongly. In order to maximize the effect he is seeking, he shoots mostly in black and white and mostly during stormy or rainy weather.
As Järventaus continues to photograph his subject, his appreciation for both the medium and the animals has deepened. Besides perfecting his own aesthetic vision and communicating the beauty of what he has seen, Järventaus hopes his images can help inspire a future in which wild animals are still able to roam freely in the world’s unspoiled landscapes.
With my lion series, I am aiming to go beyond traditional documentary photography to convey the magical qualities of lions that intrigues me the most. In order to do so, I prefer to work with lions in the wild. Lions in captivity does not have the majestic presence that I look for and I want to portrait them in their natural habitat. I photograph mostly in black and white to avoid the distraction of colors. I want my images to have a timeless feel and I want to focus on shape, light and form but at the same time capture and explore the complexity and the essence of the iconic lion. I also prefer to work during stormy and rainy days. I need the sense of movement, drama and uncertainty that the wind and rain adds to the scene. It symbolizes the world in which lions live, a world of uncertainty and danger but also a world of bravery and pride.
I do not manipulate my images to a great extent, I simply enhance certain parts of the image to visually communicate the way I see lions. In this regard my images are representational, yet they may suggest different realities.
Honors & Awards
International Photographer Of The Year Awards 2016, Second place winner, portraits category (People of the Ghat.), Honorable mention wildlife. (lions)
Tokyo International Foto Awards 2016, Second place winner, wildlife category.
Black and white Spider Awards 2016, 2x nominations
ND Awards 2016, First place winner, nature, wildlife category.
International Photography Awards 2016, 2x Honorable Mention wildlife.
Fine Art Photography Awards 2016, Second place winner, wildlife category.
Monochrome Awards 2015, 3x Honorable mention, wildlife
ND Awards 2015, First place winner, nature, wildlife category plus 1 honorable mention.
International Photographer Of The Year Awards 2015, 1 honorable mention, wildlife category
Black and white Spider Awards 2015, 3x nominations
Moscow International Photography Awards 2015, Third place winner, nature, wildlife category.
International Photography Awards 2015, 6x Honorable Mention wildlife, 2x fine art category other.
Fine Art Photography Awards 2015, Third place winner, wildlife category plus two nominations.
Siena International Photography Awards 2015, Finalist, wildlife category.
PX3 Prix De La Photographie Paris. First Prize winner, nature, wildlife category plus 6 honorable mentions and third prize people’s choice award.
Golden Turtle Awards 9, Finalist, Nomination Animal portrait.
AX3 American Aperture Awards 2014, Winner, Landscape/Seascape/Nature Category.
Monochrome Awards 2014. 5 X Honorable Mention, Wildlife.
ND Awards 2014, 2X Honorable Mention, Fine art other.
Moscow International Photography Awards 2014, Honorable Mention, self promotion.
International Photography Awards 2014, Honorable Mention, fine art category other.
LensCulture Emerging Talent Awards 2014, Editors Pick.
“Endangered”, Dade Heritage Trust House, Art Basel Week. Miami Beach, Florida, USA. Group Exhibition.
November 30-03 December
“Endangered”, Juried by Ron Magill, Michael Fink and Bruce Helander, Art Basel Week. Miami Club Rum Gallery, Art Basel Week. Miami Beach, Florida, USA. Group Exhibition.
February 28-05 April
Golden Turtle 9 Festival, Moscow Museum, Moscow & Loft project Etagi, St Petersburg, Russia. Finalist Exhibition.
March 5-26, 2015
“Wildlife”. Blank Wall Gallery, Athens, Greece. Group Exhibition.
April 7-19, 2015
“Portraits by Ellen Denuto” . NEW YORK CENTER FOR PHOTOGRAPHIC ART, New Century Artist gallery, New York, USA. Group Exhibition.
“Endangered art 4 apes” Juried by Joel Sartore, Thom Collins and Carolyn Benesh,”. Art Basel Week. Miami Club Rum Gallery, Miami Beach, Florida, USA. Group Exhibition.
“Fauna by William Wegman”. Smith Andersen North Gallery, San Anselmo, California, USA. Group Exhibition.
Feature in the October issue of Digital Camera world. Uk’s largest photography magazine.
20+ pages interview and feature in the September issue of 1x Magazine. You can download and read the magazine here.
Feature and interview by DIY Photography about “Prowling with lions”.
Lions Noire featured on Lensculture
Featured on Blackbox Gallery online exhibition, Black and white 2015
Photograph “lioness on the rocks”, featured in the coffee table book “MONO“.
Featured on artnouveau.com.gr
Featured on the front page at Fineartamerica.com
Featured photographer at Fotoblur.com.
Featured on the front page at 1x.com 8 times.
Featured on Pentaprismcommunity.org 7 times.
Featured on Pentaprismcommunity.org as penta’s choice 1 time.
Lions Noire project featured on shutyouraperture.com
Featured on the front page at 1x.com 6 times.