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What it is: About Elina Moriya. Last modified: February 22, 2005

Introducing Elina Moriya

  • Name: Elina Moriya
  • Nationality: Finnish
  • Hometown: Helsinki, Finland
  • Current location: Tokyo, Japan
  • Specialty: Digital image creation and editing
  • Languages spoken: Finnish, English, Japanese, basic Swedish, a little French
  • Age: Still young
  • Web site:
  • E-mail:

I'm happy to introduce Elina Moriya. She was born in Japan to a Japanese father and Finnish mother. At the age of 6, she moved to Finland where she lived until adulthood. She loves Japan (especially J-pop music) and lived in Japan for about a year from July 2001 and worked as a trainee for a culture institute in Tokyo until the end of Dec. 2001. She also worked as a freelance photographer. She is now back in Helsinki running her own company working as a commercial photographer but visit Japan regularly for work projects.

Most of the pictures you see here were shown in past exhibitions in Helsinki. She held her first exhibition in Japan on July 19-25, 2001. It was a group exhibition with three other Japanese photographers at Gallery Jin in Kichijoji, Tokyo. PhotoGuide Japan was one of her supporters for this exhibition. Details here... -Philbert Ono

Here's her answers to our standard interview questions:

How did you get interested in photography as a hobby or profession?

I started photography as a hobby when I was a high school exchange student in the US. After graduating from high school, I wanted to become a professional photographer and worked toward this goal.

What are your favorite subjects to photograph?

I am fascinated with people and different cultures! Each person usually has something special that touches me. Instead of being influenced by the person's appearance, I'm affected more by the person's feelings and spirit. Usually those are the factors I try bring out the photograph too. For me it's not enough for the subject to just appear in the picture. I want him or her to also exude his or her spirit, personality, and inner beauty. It doesn't matter if it is a regular person who isn't used to be in front of a camera, or a professional model. The photo should always be more that a document of that person.

Other thing that I have been really into for the past few years are panoramic photographs. It seems like I couldn't get enought fit into a regular format so I wanted to to expand this view wider. The results are often really wide pieces of work, that can be 1-2 meters wide and thus quite powerful. In my panoramic images my purpose is to create a feeling, that you are "inside the picture". As if you were standing there and looking around. This way I also want to create new ways to experience still photographs.

What do you hope to achieve with photography?

Being bicultural myself with a Japanese father and Finnish mother, I want to promote mutual understanding between different peoples and cultures. It is my hope that all the people can live together and enrich their lives by meeting each other and learning from each other.

For example if I make photographs, that while people are looking at them, make them feel like they want to travel to Japan, then I have lowered cultural boundaries and gotten them interested about the Japanese culture and Japanese people. Hopefully I can courage them as far as travelling to Japan too, because experiencing a new culture hopefully expands views and creates new thoughts.

Being able to understand different cultures and the world at large is a great asset. At the very least, I feel very lucky to be able to gain from different people, different ideas for my work and life.

What kind of cameras do you use?

Mostly I use Canon EOS 1Ds but sometimes other larger digital backs too. Regardless of technique and equipment, I always believe that the final picture is what counts. It doesn't matter how it's done. It just has to touch you or move you somehow.

What are your future hopes and dreams?

Photographs can have a great influence and sometimes move mountains. My hope is to be able to influence people towards a better world.

Recent Activities

A series of "Ichi Go Ichi E" project started in 2002 (you can see one of the pictures above, shot in Tokyo). The photos present portraits are of people she has randomly met on the street in different parts of the world. This series continues to expand as she travel around. Up to now the pictures have been shown as an exhibition in Helsinki, Finland and in Pointe Noire, in The Republic of Congo.

In 2003 worked in the Republic of Congo for 2 months, doing journalistic work and teaching digital photography, image editing, creative work and preparation for an exhibition for ten Congolese photographers.

During 2004 spent a total of 2 months working on different projects in Japan while based in Helsinki, Finland. Started working with motion pictures too. In the fall 2004, got involved in the production of a Japanese TV commercial (first time).

Currently working on a big exhibition project "Molende" for 2006 (photographs from the Republic of Congo) besides work.

Hopefully an exhibition about Japan in a near future too...

Exhibitions & Grants

Solo exhibitions:

2003 "Ichi Go Ichi E, 2nd edition" at French Culture Centre, Pointe Noire, The Republic of Congo
2002 "Ichi Go Ichi E" at Gloria Culture Arena, Helsinki, Finland
2000 "Not Half, but Double" at Taidehalli Kunsthalle Studio, Helsinki, Finland
1999 "Off Tracks" at Gloria Culture Arena, Helsinki, Finland
1998 "Thoughts On Life" at Savoy Theatre, Helsinki, Finland
1997 "The Elements Of Life" at Savoy Theatre, Helsinki, Finland

Group exhibitions:

2002 “Kodama Ga Kikoeru" at Photo Space Koyo, Tokyo, Japan
2001 "Jin Session 2001 Vol. 3, " at Gallery Jin, Tokyo, Japan
1996 "Ajan Kasvot" at Savoy Theatre, Helsinki, Finland
1996 "25-vuotisnäyttely" Käpylän Ammattikoulu, Helsinki, Finland
1995 "Avoimet Ovet" at Käpylän Ammattikoulu, Helsinki, Finland
1994 "Avoimet Ovet" at Käpylän Ammattikoulu, Helsinki, Finland
1992 "Placer High School Annual Student Art Show", California, USA
1992 "Sierra College Competitive Show", California, USA


2003 Grant from Finnfoto, Central Photographic Association in Finland
2002 Travel grant for cultural development projects, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finland
1999 Grant from Finnfoto, Central Photographic Association in Finland
1999 City of Helsinki, Finland Cultural Section grant

Motto: “Life is continuous research. Everything depends not only on your own devotion and hard work, but most of all on your attitude."

More info at

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