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Nelli Palomäki
+358 50 568 7285 /

Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire
 +33 (0)1 42 74 47 05 /
17 rue des Filles-du-Calvaire, 75003 Paris

Jackson Fine Art
tel 404.233.3739 /
3115 East Shadowlawn Avenue

A new body of work SPEED OF DARK on display at Galerie Les filles du calvaire in Paris spring 2022 and at Paris Photo with Galerie Les filles du calvaire in November 2022

Selected for Elles x Paris Photo, see the 2022 edition here, curator Federica Chiocchetti


Paris Photo 2022 with Galerie Les filles du calvaire


Susi with his dad, 2018
Selenium toned gelatin silver print


A Petite Garden, 2019
Collage, selenium, sepia and split toned gelatin silver contact prints, black needles
Triptych; 83 x 197, 103 x 197, 83 x 197
Unique, in a private collection
Paris Photo 2019 with Galerie Les filles du calvaire


A Petite Garden, 2019


A Petite Garden (detail), 2019


Paris Photo 2019 with Galerie Les filles du calvaire

Recent news and articles
11/22 Selected for the Elles x Paris Photo 2022 edition
05/22 Solo show Speed of Dark at the Galerie Les filles du calvaire in Paris
04/22 Shortlisted for the August Sander Award
04/22 Portfolio and interview by Aino Frilander, on SSAW magazine
04/21 Portraits of actress Kati Outinen on SSAW spring-summer 2021 issue
Katalog 30.2 II/Fast Forward: Women in Photography, pages 148–151
10/19  Portfolio on Snoecks 2020, text by Annelies Vanbelle, pages 82–93
10/19 Musée Magazine, Woman Crush Wednesday, interview by Kehan Lai
07/19 Article on Kamera-lehti, text by Sari Vennola, pages 16–23
05/19 A six-page portfolio in Internazionale, text by Christian Caujolle
01/19 Critique on my exhibition at the Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire in Libération
10/18 Susi with his dad (2018) in the latest Fotografi, Norwegian photography magazine
08/18 Photographs from the Shared published in the Gente di Fotografia
07/18 LensCulture, Volume 2, is out now with portrait of Zane and August in it
04/18 My photographs of siblings on The Correspondent, an article by Lynn Berger
04/18 Nominated for the August Sander Award
04/18 Article on Verk tidskrift, written by Susanne Fessé
12/17 Photographs from Shared featured in Raw View #10 'Fineland'
11/17 Article on P3 written by Ana Maia
10/17 Photographs from the Shared featured on FotoRoom together with an interview
10/17 Interview by Diane Smyth on British Journal of Photography
09/17 Part of the project 100 Finnish Photographers
06/17 Article on LensCulture 'Shared-Exploring Siblinghood Through Portraiture'
04/17 Interview by Matthew Oxley on
04/17 Awarded a Juror's Pick prize in LensCulture Portrait Awards 2017


New work Holds (Susi and Ylva) on display at Kunsthalle Helsinki October 2021, part of the Helsinki School 25th anniversary exhibition


Portrait of a Finnish actress and icon Kati Outinen for SSAW magazine (Spring Summer 2021 issue)

Hair and make-up Miika Kemppainen, styling Emma Saarnio, Kati wearing Maison Margiela


PHOTO LONDON 2019, with Gallery Taik Persons. Here's my work on the right (in the middle Zofia Kulik's amazing piece Self-portrait with a flag II, in the back Shade by Riitta Päiväläinen)


Portrait of Maria Kuusiluoma and Miro Lopperi for Anton Chekhov's Seagull (by Anne Rautiainen) at the Finnish National Theatre 


Portrait of my son, Susi with his dad (2018), in the Fotografi

Verk tidskrift 02/2018, article by Susanne Fessé

On display at the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, as part of the collections

My photographs of siblings are featured in the beautiful last issue of Raw View.


Contact II (Dora and Vera), 2018 


Myrsky and Kukka, 2017 

Annikki and Inkeri, 2017 


Janne holding Sampo, 2018 


Contact I (Dora and Vera), 2018 

Dora and Vera, 2017


Contact V (Janne and Sampo), 2019

Vera and Dora, 2018 

August and Zane, 2018 

Isabella and Josefin, 2017

Zane and August, 2016 


Julia and Roi, 2017

Nelli Palomäki was born 1981 in Forssa, Finland. At the moment she lives and works in Karkkila and Helsinki, Finland. Her timeless portraits of children and young people reveal the fragility of the moment shared with her subject. Palomäki’s photographs deal with the growth, memory and our problematic way of seeing ourselves. One of the crucial themes in her portraiture is our mortality. She describes: “We fight against our mortality, denying it, yet photographs are there to prove our inescapable destiny. The idea of getting older is heart-rending.” She is a graduate of Aalto University School of Art, Design and Architecture in Helsinki.

Palomäki’s works have been exhibited in numerous international solo and group exhibitions. Selected solo shows: Shared (Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire, Paris 2018), Shared (Gallery Taik Persons, Berlin 2017), Jaettu (Forum Box, Helsinki 2016), Breathing the Same Air (Ordrupgaard Art Museum, Copenhagen 2013), Nelli Palomäki (The Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki 2013), Sons of Nakhimov (The Wapping Project Bankside, London 2012), As time consumes us (Les Rencontres d’Arles, Discovery Award 2012), As time consumes us (Kulturhuset, Stockholm 2011), Elsa and Viola (Next Level Projects, London 2011), Elsa and Viola (Gallery TAIK, Berlin 2009), I, Daughter (Turku Art Museum, Turku 2008). Her photographs have been shown in several group shows including Helsinki City Art Museum, Hasselblad Foundation in Gothenburg, Bruce Silverstein Gallery in New York, Daegu Photo Biennale in South Korea, The National Museum of Photography in Copenhagen, Purdy Hicks Gallery in London and Aperture Gallery in New York. Palomäki’s photography has been featured in several publications such as TIME magazine, British journal of photography, Independent magazine, New York Magazine, Zoom and Exit. Her book Breathing the Same Air was published spring 2013 by Hatje Cantz.

In spring 2010 Palomäki placed 2nd in Sony World Photography Awards in portraiture category and the same year Hasselblad Foundation awarded her the Victor Fellowship Grant for the studies in London. She has been selected as one of the young emerging artist for the reGeneration2–Tomorrow's Photographers Today project. In summer 2012 Palomäki was nominated for the Discover Award at the Rencontres d’Arles in France. Permanent collections include: Moderna Museet in Stockholm; The Hague Museum of Photography, Hasselblad Foundation in Gothenburg and Helsinki Art Museum. Palomäki is represented by Galerie Les filles du calvaire (Paris) and Jackson Fine Art (Atlanta).


Vera, Dora and Antonio, 2016 


The longest relationship we will ever have is commonly with a person we did not even choose to grow up with - our sister or brother. This relationship is extraordinary both in a physical and spiritual way, but does carry its reverse too. Out of all our relationships this might well be the trickiest one. Underneath the cohesion and love, there are more complex emotions like competition, envy and concern for the other.

Photographs shown here explore the siblinghood through portraiture. They show the physical closeness between siblings and simultaneously underline the uncomfortable of being so close to someone. Looking at the siblings we are not only searching for the likeness, but also studying their differences and observing the power relationships in the portrait. Togetherness in the photographs is built around simple gestures like holding, grabbing or quietly leaning to another. Particularly different ways of touching the other has become a crucial part of the work. It is captivating to follow how some of the siblings are united while being portrayed, whereas some are suffering from being so close to each other. 

Recently my interest towards the spiritual connection between the siblings has taken over. Older siblings guarding and guiding their little sisters and brothers. At times it feels like one can sense the other one’s intentions. Instead of striving for showing only the physical connection and appearances, I’m chasing the aura of each pair.

We use our siblings as our mirrors, through them we study both our worshipped and unwanted features. As a result we quickly begin to see ourselves in a relation to another. As a little sister myself, and as a mother of two little children, there are many personal interests involved too. No matter how equal we wanted to see our family relationships, there is always some disparity. This disparity, along with the comparison between the siblings, continue to follow us throughout our lives. 

I often photograph strangers and many times an unique long-lasting relationship is built. As a photographer I am focused on how we see ourselves, and how that image differs from the one we see in the photograph. We are so afraid of someone capturing us, and we being unable to figure out this person. I am hugely fascinated by the act of posing, and as children grow, I love to witness how a just-standing-there changes into actively posing.

Inkeri and Annikki, 2016 

Maria and Sofia, 2016 

Shared, with Juhana Moisander, Gallery Forum Box, Helsinki, 2016 (Photo: Anna Autio)

following text by Antti Nylén was part of our exhibition Shared at Forum Box in Helsinki, autumn 2016


Antti Nylén

On fraternity

English translation by Jean Ramsay

Whoever it was who came up with the three key concepts of the French Revolution was wiser than you'd think. Freedom and equality are obvious, important things. Anyone can understand this. All are in favor of freedom and, at least in principle, the fact that the person standing next to me is worth as much as me, and deserves as much just because we are of the same species.

Fraternity is the odd one out of the three. In Finnish, the litany is always pronounced so as that it comes in the middle, like a punctuation mark or a side note, while in French (and subsequently English) it comes last, and leaves a strange aftertaste: 'fraternité' ... What kind of brotherhood are we talking about?

It seems that it requires more than eager nodding from our part.

Brotherhood – or sisterhood, if we want to translate the word into a non-patriarchal language - introduces a touch of carnal reality to the realm of ethical ideals; and, in other words, contradictions.

It is precisely contradictions that give meaning to things. They make everything uncomfortable.


In their collaborative exhibition, Juhana Moisander and Nelli Palomäki have focused on this common, but still strangely vague phenomenon. Siblings are people who've irrevocably been born into a similar situation. And since the situation is the same, it follows that the requirements of equality and justice are an inherent part of being siblings. Thus siblings can demand the same, after all, as Fate has granted them a certain kind of sameness!

However, siblings rarely get equal shares. The only get a bit here and there. They have to share. They are forced into solidarity.

And solidarity is not simple, but more like a paradox: you have to defend the other because he or she is similar!

The situations into which people are thrown as newborns, moreover, are as varied as they come, and each of these makes its own demands on solidarity. As a rule, how an individual belonged to different units expanded circle by circle: family and home, nationality, society, and in the end, the human race and the entire cosmos ... The term "fraternity" encompassed these outer rims of societal and cosmic unity.

Moisander and Palomäki's work focuses on the innermost circle of sisterhood, the biological closeness of young people whose origin is of the same flesh. The importance and static irrevocability of this corporeal point of origin is emphasized by the fact that their parents are rarely seen in the exhibited works, more through a glimpse, or hinted at in passing. Possibly one of the reasons why things get somewhat existential is that the family is removed from the scenes, and the siblings stand alone.


"For God's sake, where do we come from and why!"

This is what the children looking at us from these images ask  - not only from us spectators, but also the artists. Nobody answers.


Sisterhood is fatal, i.e. inescapable, thus also human, and typical to our species (although we unarguably share this experience with a variety of other mammals). Thrown into this world fragile and unfinished, human offspring are by nature in need of long-term care and security, i.e. what we have agreed to call 'a family'.

Family is just as mysterious a concept as being a sibling, a haven for the most dreadful angels and loving demons.

Anyone who's had more than one child can ponder in astonishment on how siblings can be so different, even if they've been raised according to the same principles and under the same conditions ... Does upbringing not have an effect? Does volition not make a difference? Well, certainly we have to accept that people have congenital, and thus fatal features. But in addition to this, the hierarchical positions of siblings within the family are different. One comes into the world later than the first. In addition to a common fate, each has his or her own. The resulting diversity is as indisputable as the sameness that defines siblings.

Being a sibling is not clean or ideal. It is not necessarily anything. It is arbitrary. Also, the "unique" ties between siblings can also be a fictional myth: Cain and Abel, Hansel and Gretel, the brothers Karamazov, Little Women or Cocteau's Elisabeth and Paul ... Really being a sibling  often means only a few shared memories from childhood years, and not always even as much as that.

Again, this seems to be taken into account in Nelli Palomäki photographs, which present people she  rarely knows outside of these photographs. The pictures have only been dramatized in the slightest detail. Perhaps there is no great story, no intense love/hate relationship worth mentioning? Maybe there is just that, an interpersonal relationship born out of chance, or a twist of fate - and only this has been recorded in the image, as if in accordance to the instructions of respected filmmaker and artist Robert Bresson: "No psychology (at least the kind that discovers only what it is able to explain)."


There is sense of urgency about Palomäki and Moisander's work. The works do not say much, but they mean every word they utter. This feature will attract hurried explanations, and the use of words like  'fairytale', 'mythical' or 'nostalgia'. Nowadays, the absence of signs and the austere aesthetics of black & white are usually read to connect with the past, even though they could just as well refer to the future. Why should this be interpreted as escapism? After all, it could also signify focusing on what is most important? Without a doubt, a "timeless" appearance diverts precise social observations, but also stands in the way of cheap psychological assumptions. The roles have been stripped.

The solemn and the serious is what we are dealing with. Solemnity does not exclude humor. Even Palomäki and Moisander's humor is serious.

Something is hidden (but in such a way that it can be discovered). The seriousness of the young models conceals a swarming plethora of devilish thought and angular emotion. Isn't the act of straightfacedly facing life's absurdity and contradictions not a kind of heroism; the victory of irony over something that by default is invincible, something that we have no power over, namely: fate?

The issue at hand is reliance. Fraternity shows the limits of freedom, but also whom the values have to be shared with.


Kasper and Olivia, 2016 

Aino and Saima,  2016

Anton and Joel, 2016 



Nelli Palomäki:

Breathing the Same Air


136 pages

66 duotone illustrations

Texts by Peter Michael Hornung, Estelle af Malmborg and Timothy Persons

Graphic design: Mikko Varakas

Published by Hatje Cantz, 2013



Thank you

Arts Promotion Centre Finland

Frame Foundation


See list of other publications here:

Breathing the Same Air, Ordrupgaard Art Museum, Denmark, 2013 

Breathing the Same Air, Ordrupgaard Art Museum, Denmark, 2013 

Nelli Palomäki, Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki, Finland, 2013 

Shared, with Juhana Moisander, Gallery Forum Box, Helsinki, 2016 (Photo: Anna Autio)

Inari at 7, 2012, unique 20x24" polaroid

Thank you Impossible Works, Jennifer Trausch and the Finnish Museum of Photography

Noel at 7, 2012, unique 20x24" polaroid

Thank you Impossible Works, Jennifer Trausch and the Finnish Museum of Photography

At 27 with my dad, 2009

Anni Maria at 24 with Donna, 2009

Vladimir and Eduard, 2011

Svyatoslav, 2011

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