Mohanad Al Zirjawi: Picturing Finland

Words by Lauren Cook; Photos by Mohanad Al Zirjawi

Turku is a vibrant city with many attractive venues to visit and places to see. But it is people that drive this city’s special cultural life. CC:TKU gets to know some of the people who live and work here.


Mohanad’s photography can be seen at:

To get in touch with Mohanad regarding his work, email:

Mohanad Al Zirjawi is a refugee from Iraq. He has lived in Turku for two years, during which time he has been inspired by Finnish landscapes and pursued his passion for photography. Mohanad has had his photography featured in Turun Kaupunginkirjasto (Turku main library) and several local websites. His short film was shown as part of the In My Own Words collection, and most recently two of his photographs were selected to be shown in a travelling Suomi100 exhibition.

How did you find yourself in this job?

In Iraq, I wanted to film the nature. Of course, in Iraq the nature is very different to in Finland, so I was filming and photographing people there. But when I came here, I found more things to photograph and so my interest grew. Now I think I am at a good level, but I would like to be more professional. Sometimes I even stay outside the whole night just to practice and get better.

What do you enjoy about your work?

The views and nature are beautiful, and I love the atmosphere of photographing.

What makes Turku your place to live and work?

I have friends and my cousin here, and the city is simple and beautiful.

If you were a landscape view, what kind of landscape would you be?

I would be stars, a 10mm image of stars.

What is your favourite memory from this summer?

When we went to Vieno island for Juhannus (Midsummer), in the archipelago. This was my second Finnish Midsummer. We went to sauna and swimming, we did a lot of barbecuing and stayed out the whole night. I took so many photos of the island, it was a really happy time.

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