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Karoliina Paatos


Cowboy Girls

Karoliina Paatos is a photographer and artist living in Rovaniemi who works mainly in Finland and in the USA. For the past seven years she has been following two girls growing up on a remote, family owned cattle ranch in Nevada. Home schooling, helping with ranch chores, riding, roping, and playing mostly by themselves, fills their days. On weekends they compete in junior rodeos.

Calfs are born into the snow, dust is so fine you can see insect tracks. It takes hours to reach a grocery store. Here both people and plants are few and far apart to gather the needs for their sustenance.

Romance and harshness is branded in the visual image of a cowboy. The prevailing idea is still a lonesome twenty-something man moving from one camp to another whereas the artist’s cowboys are two girls growing up into this very masculine world. As Paatos states, “I want to get close to the people I follow. I live long periods of time on the ranches and help with the chores. I don't become invisible but I became part of their everyday life.”

“Draught, high land prices and changes happening in the cattle industry are making this lifestyle nearly impossible to continue as it has been. I want to see the change through the lives of these two cowboy girls. My journey continues alongside them into their adulthood.”

On her Cowboy Girls exhibition in Galley Napa there are photos and objects from the ranch and in Studio Mustanapa Paatos exhibits her photopolymer prints, monotypes, artist's books and a video.

Karoliina Paatos published her first monograph American Cowboy by The Angry Bat in 2016. It won The Most Beautiful Book of the Year award in Slovenia where it was published and was shortlisted in many book competitions. Over the past ten years Paatos has been covering subjects all over the world for the biggest magazines and newspapers in Finland. Paatos has graduated from Aalto University's MA program in Photography and Documentary Film and is currently in University of Arizona's MFA program. Paatos won the The Finnish Association of Photojournalists Photo Essay competition last year and was PDN's student category winner in 2015 with her series Rodeo Queer. She frequently exhibits her work in solo and group shows and publications both in Finland and abroad.

Karoliina Paatos | +358 44 3045630 |