The Finnish photographer captures wild animals in their cutest moments.
Through his stunning photography, Ossi Saarinen welcomes you into the enchanted (but very real) forests of Finland, where foxes curl up to dream, birds perch on your fingertips, and brown bears greet you with calm curiosity. Ossi shared how he mastered the skills to photograph wild animals in their most adorable moments.
How has your environment influenced your art?
I’ve always lived near nature. Since I was a little kid, nature and especially wild animals have been my biggest interest. I used to observe animals near my home, first with my bare eyes but later by capturing them with a camera. Seeing nature around me every day inspires me to capture and share it with other people in my own way. Finnish nature is very beautiful and clean, and it can be found all around Finland, even inside the biggest cities.
How did you develop your nature photography skills?
I took more and more photos, and slowly they got better. I didn’t really read any books or watch any videos related to photography. It all came from experience. Every day I tried to take a better photo than the day before. When I learned how to approach the animals, I was able to get closer and more personal photos of them.
What were some methods you learned to approach the animals?
I learned to move in a way that doesn’t scare them away: moving without making any sound, no sudden moves, etc. I’ve also learned about the behavior of many animals, like when it’s the right time to approach and when it’s better to stay farther away. For example, single male foxes are much easier to approach than a mother fox with her cubs. It’s better to move a little closer first, then stop and wait until the animal calms down and continues whatever it was doing, and then move a little closer again.
What message do you hope to send through your work?
I want to inspire people to go out into nature and enjoy it. In that way, I also wish to make them more interested in protecting it.
What are the greatest challenges and rewards of your work?
The greatest challenge is to find the animals. Sometimes it takes months to find what I’m looking for. Even if I know where the animal is, it often requires hours of waiting. But when I finally find the animal and get good photos, it makes all the time spent worth it.
Aside from nature and photography, what are your everyday inspirations?
That’s a difficult question, as I get 99% of my inspiration from nature and photography. Sometimes I find some kind of art, such as paintings or drawings related to nature, very inspiring.
What’s one truth you’ve learned as a photographer?
No photo is perfect. It’s always possible to get a better photo. I believe the “perfect photo” is and will always be untaken.
Keep up with Ossi’s wildlife photography on Instagram, and be sure to check out his new side project, Wildest Butts, featuring another view of the adorable animals he meets on his travels. Be on the lookout for a book of his work to be released in Finnish in March of 2019, and visit his site to shop prints!