Pedro J. Aphalo





I am a senior university lecturer in physiological plant ecology and principal investigator at the Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme (OEB), Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences of the University of Helsinki and member of the Viikki Plant Science Center (ViPS).

I am the leader of the research group Sensory and Physiological Ecology of Plants (SenPEP).

For me photography is both a tool I use in research and teaching, and a hobby. Research and hobby are very much intertwined, but photographing birds and landscapes are mostly hobbies, while photographing plants and vegetation plays an important role in my work.

My interest in photography is thus a mix of documentary and artistic. As researcher of “light” responses in plants, I am interested in the ultraviolet, visible and near infrared regions of the spectrum.

I have been taking photographs for more than 50 years. I have received more informal than formal training and read considerable. The first teacher was my father, who started taking photographs in 1929 at the age of 12, and enjoyed it as a hobby until old age. A cousin introduced me to darkroom techniques. Studying Andreas Feininger’s book The Complete Colour Photographer as a teenager gave me a broad view of photography as an activity. It prepared me for a workshop/course I attended in the late 1970’s with Horacio Coppola as teacher. The more specialized techniques for scientific and field photography I learnt also in the 1970’s from Alfred Baker’s books Handbook for Scientific Photography and Field Photography. In the late 1980’s when doing my PhD at the University of Edinburgh I was on a brink of switching from plant sciences to photography. Although I later read other books both on techniques, art and photo books, those listed above were the most influential. Both Andreas Feininger and Horacio Coppola studied at the Bauhaus.