Arno Rafael Minkkinen

Free Account, Andover, Mass.

About me

Born, Helsinki, Finland

Emigrates with family to the United States. Lives in Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, New York. Learns to read at age 10. Moves to Sunset Park, then Bay Ridge. Attends Fort Hamilton, High School. Weakest player on the chess team. Works at Boy Scout Camp teaching swimming, canoeing, and lifesaving.

Enters Wagner College, Staten Island, New York as Philosophy & Religion major. Switches to English Literature in Sophomore year. Edits Wagner Literary Magazine in Junior year. Overcomes cleft-palate complex by dating one beautiful girl after another for a whole semester.

Joins E.T. Howard Advertising Agency in New York as a copywriter on Peugeot, J & B Scotch, and Minolta Cameras. Writes: "What happens inside your mind can happen inside a camera." Advertising career initially spans five years, from 1967 to 1972. Takes photo course with Ken Heyman.

Applies to Rhode Island School of Design. Application is rejected. Enrolls for summer photography workshop at Apeiron in Millerton, New York under Diane Arbus. Workshop is cancelled, never meets Arbus. Studies with John Benson instead. Makes first self-portrait on September 2, 1971.

First solo exhibition at Soho Photo Gallery. Reapplies successfully to Rhode Island School of Design. Harry Callahan asks: "Why would you want to come here?" Replies: "To continue what I started at Apeiron." Also teaching with Callahan is Aaron Siskind. Moves to Narragansett, Rhode Island. Photographs in Pachaug, Connecticut, boyhood summer place.

Invited by Jussi Aalto to teach at the University of Industrial Arts Helsinki beginning in the fall of 1974. Stays two years.

Joins Massachusetts Institute of Technology as Assistant Professor. Moves to Lowell Street in Andover, Massachusetts.

Invited back to teach in Finland at the Lahti Institute of Design and University of Art and Design Helsinki. Meets Viviane Esders who presents exhibitions in Paris and other French venues.

First solo exhibition in New York (since 1972) at Houk Friedman Gallery. Begins working in the American southwest. "Still Not There", an hour long documentary by Kimmo Koskela on the life and photographic/video work produced for Finnish television. Meets Radu Stern, director adjoint, École d'arts appliqués, Vevey, Switzerland. Begins teaching first year students in the photography program there. The University of Lowell becomes the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

(see complete bio on homepage)

Comments 8

  • Dimitris Papaioannou 27/02/2008 19:30

    Thanks to the others' help and inspiration we can be better...first of all we should take lessons...we should be willing to learn...but we have to try as hard as possible to find our own way...we ought "to stay on the bus"...and we must believe in Greece we use to say " Syn Athena and Heira kinei" which means: Do not wait only the god' s help but you should also move your hands...having that in mind we can reach the peak of our choice, we can fullfill our dreams and desires...
    Thank you very much for the strength that your words gave me...
    I' ve already choose to stay on that f*cking bus myself no matter what' s the risk...
    And there are moments that I' m very proud and happy that I did it...
    I believe that that was the only way I could follow in my life...

    Most respect
    Dimitris Papaioannou
    (photographer & painter of my own life)
  • Anna Sommerkleid 25/02/2008 21:32

    found your bus-stop thoughts no more than a some days ago. thank you very much for those thoughts, metaphors and images. i thought a lot about them during a long distance jouney on a train. :-)
  • Chris Pietsch 13/12/2006 15:36

    It's a pleasure

    thanks for charing some thoughts and views
  • When 29/10/2006 6:24

    Arno......I was introduced to your article HELSINKI BUS STATION THEORY by Dirk Hoffman this evening. At the time he sent me the link to the article I quickly skimmed it for content and saved it for later. Well, later came soon as some of the comments I picked up in that quick skim clung to my brain and swirled around my head as if they were hanging in the air like a thick fog. No matter how I put this it will come off as overly emotional, and too sentimental, and it is. I'm moved, moved to tears streaming down my face, moved as if it were a love letter that made me flushed and entered my soul; my heart racing, and palms sweating. Tonight I read HELSINKI BUS STATION THEORY a half dozen times, key phrases already put to memory. Moved beyond anything I've ever read by any article I've ever read on art or photographer, more than any professor, and how I have a great passion for those that inspired me. I can say there is only one other time I felt like this, when I stood in front of my first Calder and touched the welded signature. Tonight I felt like I touched your signature. There is nothing greater in this world to me than a teacher that preaches "find your own way". You have really gripped me, and I think how wonderfully magnificent it would be to had been one of your students. I only hope one day that I might have a chance to sit in an audience and hear you speak. The picture you paint with words is just as brilliant as your photography. Now that I have embarrassed myself and most likely you, I'd like to say that I am thrilled to welcome you to FC and look foward to learning more from you.
  • Karl Makkina 02/09/2006 16:55

    A real pleasure for me to see again your pictures :o))
    Warm welcom to this great community
    greetings, Karl
  • Dirk Hofmann 01/09/2006 3:10

    I only can subscribe Andy's words ... :-)

    hope we can have a jack in jack tomorrow ... :-)
  • Andy Pomplun 31/08/2006 16:49

    On top of that, it was a very great pleasure to meet you at the Nordic Light Festival in Kristiansund, excuse my bad english for not finding any better words: You really are a great guy, it was a real pleasure for me talking to you and your wife. Please do say hi from me to her too.

  • Andy Pomplun 31/08/2006 16:47

    Welcome to!

    I and the whole team of feel very proud that you decided to join and let others participate on your great and outstanding pictures here on

    nevertheless, there might be some useful links for you where you can explore and find out a bit more about fotocommunity and finding your way around our site. Of course I'd be very happy to help you with any questions you might come up with about our site, please do feel free to contact me per email or in person at any time. here are the links:

    You might also want to gather some information in our online-help. There you can learn about the different features of fotocommunity.
    To get there click here:

    fotocommunity - share your passion!

    Best regards
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