ossi piispanen


London based but born in a small town in Finland, Ossi is an astonishing photographer and independent documentary director. He works primarily with grassroots movements and communities, focusing on portraiture and storytelling. 

Over the past few years, he has been commissioned for editorial and photojournalist work by a range of national and international clients such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, Der Spiegel, Die Zeit, Adidas, Red bull, and many more, as well as being in constant demand for the likes of Adidas and Skin for his powerful and engaging sports portraiture.

In his personal work he is drawn to outsider groups that are usually underrepresented in mass media: The ‘Manor House Project’ a long-term, durational photographic documentation of the urban artist community living in former industrial warehouses in North London; ‘Rokkiralli’ centres on the DIY banger rally scene in Finland; ‘Kylähullu’ – which translates to ‘village idiot’ or ‘oddball’ although the meaning in Finland is closer to extrovertism – this body of work focuses on eccentric characters living in one of the most socially reserved countries in the world, studying how eccentricity is simultaneously desired and frowned upon. Ossi’s most recent project ‘The Art of Mars’ is a wonderful, emotive story of a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) community in London.

At the core of Ossi’s approach photography is his desire to capture real human stories. As such, he will often find himself working with people who are not used to being in front of the camera and with whom he must establish an understanding and mutual trust.

As a whole, Ossi’s projects explore the oft repeated but rarely scrutinized idea of why a camera can enable easy access to people's lives, and what, then, is the responsibility of a photographer in representing others.

Ossi has partaken in prestigious workshops, including the Atelier Du Visu Workshop with Antoine D’Agata, and ISSP Masterclass with Aaron Schuman. His work is included in the National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection and has been exhibited internationally.