Helsingin Sanomat photographer Hannes Heikura wins Fotofinlandia Prize
Helsingin Sanomat staff photographer Hannes Heikura has won the 2008 Fotofinlandia Prize, worth EUR 17,000.
In addition, the jury rewarded photographer Pekka Luukkola (EUR 4,500) and freelance press photographer Henrik Malmström (EUR 1,500).
The four jury-members were unanimous in their decisions, and their views were also shared by the public who voted on the Internet.
This was the 10th holding of the Fotofinlandia event. Previously open to all, it was this year arranged through qualification rounds arranged by the member associations of Finnfoto, the central organ of Finnish photographers.
Hannes Heikura has had a highly successful 2008, having won the press photographers' own annual competition in the spring and prizes for the Best Press Picture of the Year and Press Photographer of the Year.
The winner said he had not taken part in the competition before, and in fact did not actively do so this year, either.
He has nothing against the event as such, but his work is more about individual shots than the sort of picture series that was required for the competition.
As it happens, this year when Heikura took part in the Press Photo of the Year competition, the organisers decided that the best entries would be further entered in the Fotofinlandia: the photographer merely had to select five of the ten images that had been put forward for the earlier event.
Heikura, 50, is regularly behind the viewfinder in the world's crisis zones and where news is being made, but many of his best-known images are of everyday life, street scenes, or weather phenomena.
He was also aboard the helicopter when Helsingin Sanomat took a bird's-eye view of Finland over six days in May of this year, for a large feature article in the newspaper's monthly supplement Kuukausiliite.
A large-format book of the aerial images, compiled in collaboration with HS journalist Ilkka Malmberg, is to be published next month.
The finalist entries in the Fotofinlandia competition are on display in the ground-floor atrium of the Sanoma Building in Helsinki until November 30th. Monday to Friday 07-22, Saturday & Sunday 09-22.
Fotofinlandia 2008 (in Finnish; scroll down for prize-winning entries)