Elina Brotherus’ Many Selves


At their simplest, Elina Brotherus‘ images are deeply personal and beautiful. Without being too indulgent, she wears the hats of model and photographer interchangeably in her self portraits. Yet at the same time you are acutely aware that in each image, this is the artist looking at an artist.

Brotherus’ work comprises photographs (and some video) that document both quotidian and life-changing events, as in the case of Brotherus, tyttö (Brotherus, Girl) where she takes pictures of her friend Hanna Brotherus as she gives birth to a baby girl. While she wields her lens in a way that meets most of the art historical and technical essentials of photography, it is the honesty and ease with which Brotherus poses herself before the lens that makes her work special; making us feel like we know the photographer as well as we know the photograph. Or maybe not at all.

Here are some of our favorites.

From the Artist and her Model series.

Artist and Model Reflected in a Mirror 1, 2007 (Image Source: http://www.artslant.com/)


Nu Descendant un Escalier, 2010 (Image Source: http://www.contretype.org/)


In the mirror 1, 2007 (Image Source: http://www.artnet.com/)

Emre’s Umbrella, 2008 (Image Source: http://www.effeartegallery.com/)


From the Artists at Work series.

Artists at Work 1, 2009 (Image Source: http://www.fiac.com/)


Artists at Work 2, 2009 (Image Source: http://altblog.be/)


Artists at Work 3, 2009 (Image Source: http://illustration-pictures.feedio.net/)


Artists at Work 9, 2009 (Image Source: http://suite116.tumblr.com/)


Her Model Studies

According to Brotherus the figure’s back turned to the spectator is a gesture to invite peaceful contemplation and should not be interpreted as confrontational.

Model Study 15, 2004 (Image Source: http://mesmotsperdus.blogspot.co.uk/)


Model Study 16, 2005 (Image Source: http://www.undo.net/)


Model Study 18, 2005 (Image Source: http://wird.com.ua/)


Model Study 11, 2004 (Image Source: http://wird.com.ua/)

We can’t get enough of Brotherus’ work especially her Suites françaises 2 series where she documents her use of post-its to learn French. Check out her excellent website for more images.

And we can’t end without one of her most iconic images. It’s titled ‘I hate sex.’

I hate sex. 1999 (Image Source: http://lauraroal.blogspot.co.uk/)

Epic. Honest. And with a wedding ring in full view. That’s Elina Brotherus for you.

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