Marika Pentikainen Bringing out emotions and vulnerability are important in my work. Without some kind of emotional connection, I can ’ t do this work and allow the person being photographed be who they are. I often feel that my connection to and the story of the person I ’ m photographing becomes a therapeutic encounter for them. It ’ s very important to me to hear and see my subjects and their world and thoughts. I want to bring out things that the subject doesn ’ t know how to dig out of themselves. I feel that there is always some kind of mentally stimulating message that subconsciously pulses out from deep inside of me in my work. I feel this is very important. The viewer can also find their own meaning because my message may not necessarily carry the right meaning for them. If a viewer finds new dimensions in my work, then that ’ s always great. I usually don ’ t consider what the end result will be like beforehand because in a sense a piece of work can change any time over the course of the whole process, and I have to get inspiration from the subject, the situation, the environment, the colors or from black and white. As I mentioned earlier, I don ’ t always have an entirety planned out in advance, but in some situations I have gotten a vision in my head beforehand of the photograph and idea I want to convey. I couldn ’ t work if I had to plan everything from start to finish and then stick with it. I feel that this method would eat up my creativity, and I don ’ t long for that kind of security when I ’ m working. I ’ m very strict about my own set of rules and over the course of each project, I follow my own rules to finish my work. The great thing about what I do is that as much as you learn to understand people and their environments around the world, you also learn to visualize new things and to grow all the time because that is my way of being in the world. Without growing, no new things can be born. I think we should always have our emotional feelers out as we move about in the world. I have to experience and feel. I feel that what you feel fuels your life and is an important asset that even helps you to get along with people.