Alumni stories: ”When it comes to photo technique, you can always develop and do things better ”
Anders Portman is a photographer and the CEO of the photography agency Kuvatoimisto Kuvio, which he founded in 2009.
“I have been interested in photography since I was a teenager and the first thing I did when I graduated was to buy a system camera. I like to work for small organisations, where you get a broader perspective on things and where the job tasks aren’t that specific. After working for a few years in the real estate business, I quit my job, studied photography for a year and got a chance to photograph about one hundred shops in different areas of Finland. I realised that there is a market for this type of photography, and here I am today”, says Portman.
Kuvio is a small business with two photographers. They are specialised in architecture and building environments, and they photograph everything from big famous buildings to residential blocks.
“We photograph for big real estate owners and a lot of new buildings in the Helsinki area. The subject may not always be that interesting, but when it comes to photo technique, you can always develop and improve. Then, it doesn’t matter if you have an ordinary residential block or a building with a higher architectural value in front of the camera”.
A lot of work in the summer
Photographing buildings is a seasonal job, and during late summer the calendar is fully booked. In 2019, Kuvio photographed the new Helsinki city library Oodi, which has received a lot of media attention. However, Portman’s personal favorite is something completely different.
“For me personally, the most interesting thing this year was to photograph the warehouse of Kyrö Distillery company. The façade of the building is cast in concrete, but they have used an old barn as mould when they have casted the surface, so it looks like it’s made of black wood”, says Portman.
Besides photographing, Portman also does administrative work. As an entrepreneur, you are quite alone however working in a way that reflects your own values makes it worthwhile, even with possible setbacks.
“This is the reason why I am an entrepreneur. I get to plan how I use the resources of the company. I get to meet customers and solve problems. This is the best part of it, but also the hardest. When something goes wrong, you know you find the reason in the mirror, but at least, you have followed your own moral compass.”
Anders Portman graduated from Hanken in Helsinki in 2003, with financial investing as a major. The interview with him is from the Hanken Magazine no 3/2019. Photo: Martin Sommerschield