Omatandangole is a photographic series shot in Namibia between 2016-2018. It was published as a photobook by Kehrer Verlag in 2019, and since then, I have exhibited it in Finland, Norway, and Hungary.
A few years ago, I encountered a stage in my personal life where the story I was telling myself fell apart in some ways, and as a result, I felt I needed an escape. Eventually, I found myself in the desert of Namibia.
While staying there – pressing a pause button of my life to be able to stop for a while, I was still curious to see what kind of images I could find in this emptiness. The landscape there is particularly massive and forsaken at the same time, and I became more and more interested in the visual possibilities of this emptiness. I started exploring the vast landscape, bending reality with my camera to find a gray area between what is true and what is not piqued my curiosity.
The name of the work comes from the native Oshiwambo language and refers to a mirage, a phenomenon that occurs when the air is scorching, and the view gets distorted. This phenomenon seemed to reflect my photographic pursuit of illusion that is rooted in actuality. Even if our surroundings are chaotic and broken, it is possible to create photographs that show them as complete and pristine, so unlike what they are in reality. And yet – in that brief moment that is captured by the camera, wasn’t that sense of completeness true for a fleeting moment? A tear in the veils of reality or an elusive bliss that always dissolves as fast as it emerged.
Aapo Huhta (1985) is a Helsinki based photographer. He received an MA in photography from the Aalto University of Arts and Design, Helsinki Finland in 2015. In 2014, Huhta was selected as one of the Top 30 Under 30 photographers by the Magnum Photos. He received the award of the Young Nordic Photographer of the Year 2015 and was chosen for the Joop Swart Masterclass in 2016. In 2019, he was selected for a Young Artist of the Year award by Tampere Art Museum.