15 November 2013

trash the dress/ U&R

After photographing U & R's wedding, the couple commissioned me for another fun, more informal trash the dress/rock the frock shoot. The industrial docks in Helsinki provided some pretty awesome backdrops for a grittier series.

05 November 2013

Text Submissions for AS WE ARE

I'm very excited to have been chosen to exhibit As We Are at the Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Warf in London's South Bank at the end of this month! Go check out the other awesome artists too. The show runs from November 28th to December 1st.

As part of the show in London, I am creating a publication that gives more people the chance to submit their stories, and this is where I need YOU! The original project showed handwritten statements written by the participants in conjunction with their own portraits. I am aware that not everyone is in a position where appearing in a photo and revealing their true identities is possible or even safe, which is why I want to extend the reach of this project to include those of us with limited chances to express themselves. With enough submissions, the final outcome would hopefully be a colourful, diverse and authentic look at the different kinds of lives and loves of the LGBT community in Scotland, coming right from the people, for the people.

Submissions would ideally be sent through post, or scanned and emailed if in a pinch. The only parameter for the piece is that it is a maximum of A4 in size and handwritten by you (or by someone you trust/on a computer if writing by hand is very difficult for you). The text can be anything you want to say - you can read some of the examples of others' statements in the original post. 'Identity' and 'who you are' may or may not actually be related to being LGBT - who are you as a person really, what defines you, what do you want to tell the world about yourself? Identity can be things like student, sister, football player, where you are from, what you want to be in the future, woman/man/neither/both... If you feel like a certain LGBT identity is something that is a big part of who you are, like being gay, or bi, or generally queer, or trans* etc, you can write about that - but if you don't feel like its something you want to explicitly discuss, or don't know how to define yourself, then that is completely ok too. Everyone is different! You could also share a memory, philosophy, story or even a drawing you feel is a reflection of yourself.

Here are some general questions to help you get inspired. 
- What is your career at the moment / what is the career you are studying or working towards, or dream of having?
- Have you ever been in love, or are you in love right now? 
- What makes, or has made, you proud of yourself?
 - What would you like to say to someone still too afraid to come out and be who they are? 
- Is there something keeping you from being able to publicly be yourself? 
- What is the most beautiful thing in your world?

The submissions can be anonymous if you wish, and I will only disclose your name if you say its ok. It would be great if you gave a geographic location (this could also be quite broad, like 'Northern Scotland') to create an idea of how our community is dispersed around the country. 

 The texts can be sent to: Tiu Makkonen, 6/12 Dalgety Road, Edinburgh EH7 5UJ
 or scanned (at maximum resolution please) and emailed to tiu.makkonen@gmail.com. 

 If you have any questions please don't hesitate to pop me a message! Here's to letting our voices be heard. I'm looking forward to chronicling our great community! Tiu x

01 October 2013

professor stephen reicher for nzz campus magazine

Portrait commission for issue 21/2013 of Swiss magazine NZZ Campus. Professor Stephen Reicher is a social psychologist and former Head of the department of Psychology at the University of St. Andrews. His research and work specialises in crowd psychology, group behaviour and the individual-social relationship, and processes such as tyranny and leadership.

One of his most notable studies is the 2002 BBC Prison Study conducted together with Alex Haslam of the University of Exeter.

alchemist gin

Botanicals & juniper berries for gin making.

From a shoot for Berlin-based bespoke spirits company Alchemist.

15 August 2013


(please click through for a larger view!)

Ailsa & Rosa



Frankie & Rona




Emma & Zoë



As we are is an intimate dialogue with members of Scotland's gender and sexual minorities, dealing with themes of visibility, (self)representation, identity and empowerment. The series combines techniques of traditional portraiture with a shifting in power from the photographer to the participants, whereupon ultimate control of the camera's shutter is relinquished to the sitters in front of the lens via a cable release. This gesture is informed by the understanding of how important it is for artists and documentary makers to approach non-mainstream representation from a place of equal footing; collaborating, rather than assuming an outside, superior authority over the actual persons portrayed. In addition to physically taking the images, the volunteers have also handwritten their own statements, loosely based on the notion of 'who they are' to accompany their portraits.

The series is one of looking back. We are here and we are queer, taking a stand by showing ourselves as we are – vulnerable, hands open, lionhearted. We are creeping from the shadows to the sunlight, burning down the circus tents and stepping on their charred platforms to speak with our own, true voices. The battle to end gender-based inequality is a battle to end invisibility, to be rightly recognised and unquestioned in courthouses, in the emergency room, in the bathroom of the local library, at a son's first ballet recital, at our own wedding receptions. It is the right to be valid and accepted, and it is the right to be worthy of love. No amount of theory, philosophy or science can ever truly pinpoint what it means to be us, human, in all our gloriously nuanced and confusing ways - but neither does it have to.

What matters is to be seen.


So here it is; my final project as an undergraduate. It received the Helen A. Rose Bequest Award for Distinguished Work in May and was shown both at the Edinburgh College of Art Degree Show 2013 as well as the Free Range Art & Design Show in Brick Lane, London. There has been talk of it going on show in the new building of the Chalmers Sexual Health Centre in Edinburgh - more to follow on that later!

Missing still are two images of Mark and Marcus, though by sheer coincidence I managed to bump into Mark in a bar last week and he gave me his handwritten statement on a pub napkin. How awesome is that!

I have high hopes for this project to continue once I have all the equipment necessary. I'd be happy to hear from anyone still wanting to take part! :)

14 August 2013


"Tänään satun olemaan täällä - Huomenna jossakin toisessa paikassa. Minä kuljen kulkemistani, ja kun löydän hauskan paikan, pystytän telttani ja soitan huuliharppua."


"I live all over the place. Today I happen to be here. Tomorrow I will be somewhere else. I wander about as I please. When I find a place I like, I pitch my tent and play my harmonica.” -Nuuskamuikkunen

13 August 2013

sally morrison jewellery

I'm currently in the process of building www.tiumakkonen.com, but in the meantime, here's a few images from the jewellery collection of the absolutely amazing Sally Morrison. Visit her website for more awesomeness: http://sally-morrison.tumblr.com !

And once again thank you to Sophie for modelling the pieces, she is a champ and a muse.

11 March 2013


Emma and Zoë at home, 2013

For my final undergraduate project I am working with members of the LGBTI community in Edinburgh to produce an extensive, empowering portraiture series, working title Eligible. The representation and visibility of sexual and gender minorities in Western society and visual media is still far below quality standards, with marginalisation and stereotypical representation - or even complete erasure - of whole communities causing misinformation, prejudice and discrimination to remain rife. This project aims to increase visibility and correct representations by working with regular people, all volunteers, combining traditional environmental portraiture with a shifting in power from the photographer, or taker of the image, to the individual(s) in front of the lens. The images are constructed in collaboration with participants in places special to them, carefully planned with a high-quality analogue film camera set up. Right before the moment of exposure, the sitter is given ultimate control of the shutter release by handing them a long squeezy cable release, making them in effect the final "takers" of their own image. The resulting photographs should thus be personal and unique representations of individuals who belong to a marginalised demographic, but who are taking a stand by acknowledging this traditional hierarchy and looking right back at those looking at them. The cable, kept completely visible, is the physical manifestion of this pride. If successful, this project will be exhibited both at the Edinburgh College of Art Graduate Degree Show as well as the Free Range Art & Design Show in London, both in June, enabling good visibility and hopefully some real effect.

For the very first session a few weeks ago, I got to work with Emma and Zoë, who kindly invited me to their home where we had some tea and biscuits, and I got to meet a giant snail. I am so grateful for this opportunity and the brave ladies who signed up to participate! The ball is now rolling with an amazing number of people already volunteering for this, most complete strangers to me, united by a common cause. Several more sessions are already in the bag as well and I have met some truly wonderful new people!

But this is only the beginning. If you would also like to take part, please comment here, shoot me an email (address is in the sidebar) or find me on Facebook/ECA campus/anywhere! EVERYONE is encouraged to participate, and at no point does the project ask anyone to define or label themselves in any way - this project is not about 'what', it is about 'who'. Nevertheless I would like to take the opportunity to especially encourage the trans* and intersex individuals among us who I feel are most often left out even in otherwise inclusive LGBTI circles and happenings, and the representation of whom in popular visual culture still remains particularly narrow and awful, to consider taking part. :)

Spread the word, I can't do this alone!

01 March 2013


Hey all! It's been pretty quiet around these parts, but I haven't dropped off the face of the planet yet (though I have been watching lots of sci-fi space dramas recently). My final year at Edinburgh College of Art is soon coming to a close and I have been really busy working on my dissertation as well as my final photo project - more to follow on that later!

This June will be especially exciting as I will be participating in the biggest graduate art show in Europe, the Free Range Art & Design Show in London. The collective I belong to, SoftBox Photography Collective, has reserved a space on Brick Lane for the dates between 13-17 June, and we are now working super hard to fundraise and realise the exhibition. And it's not cheap, guys - we've calculated our budget to be about £6,500 short of its goal at the moment. So we have set up a crowdfunding project on Sponsume and are humbly asking EVERYONE we know, have met, worked with, photographed, drunk, sung and danced with to help young photographers out with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Even just £1 is already a huge deal for us, and if everyone we knew donated that, we'd be sorted! So easy! If only...

The above swanky video, as well as more information, testimonials, and details on all the AWESOME STUFF you can get as a thank you gift if you donate can be found here:


We've already had three big exhibitions in Edinburgh. The Graduate Show at ECA will be the fourth, but we want to go all out. This is THE big break for a lot of us hoping to make it in London and the wider world. Please show your appreciation for young, emerging photographers today!