In a digital world, Helsinki-based darkroom artist Mikael Siirilä offers a profound respite through small, contemplative silver gelatin photographs. Exploring themes of absence, presence, and outsiderhood, his images capture characters deeply immersed in their inner worlds, simultaneously absent and intensely present. Siirilä's approach is rooted in true observation, with minimal interaction with subjects, ensuring a pure connection to the world.

The slow, contemplative process of working with black and white film in the darkroom imbues each photograph with calmness, inviting viewers to stare, feel, and become lost in the images repeatedly. Believing in the power of the standalone picture, the artist’s work is unapologetically poetic and meditative. Fragmented and obscured subjects draw viewers to feel a presence beyond the picture's edges. Using overexposure, high acuity development, and pure blue light to enhance film grain, along with warm golden-ivory toning, he crafts images that are both timeless and intimate, offering a quiet exploration of presence, absence, and identity.

His book Here, In Absence, is published by Iikki.