Award-winning Finnish wildlife photographer Konsta Punkka has been dubbed as the ‘Squirrel Whisperer’. At just 26, he has an uncanny talent to show the true beauty of nature in a way that only a few have had the privilege to experience.
Konsta spends over 200 days a year on various commissions worldwide, perfectly capturing wildlife at precise and expressive moments that tell a deeper story of their relationship with nature. To the viewer, it feels like Konsta is revealing wildlife’s best-kept secrets through his photography. “I want to inspire as many people as possible, to whom nature feels distant and strange, to experience its wonders,” Konsta says, “that is my biggest mission in life.”
At the age of 17, Konsta began his career as a photographer by capturing Helsinki’s vibrant urban lifestyle. “I soon realised how many animals share our urban l and scape, hidden away from our view but living side-by-side to us urban dwellers”, Konsta remembers. “This was fascinating to me, and so I started taking pictures of the urban wild-life first in and around Helsinki, before expanding to more rural and unspoilt wild environments in Finland and around the world.”
Konsta built his reputation as an esteemed photographer on social media. He is now the second most followed Finn on Instagram with 1.3M followers, and has featured on National Geographic. To Konsta, sharing his work on social media for everyone to see is a big part of what drives him to take photos.
“Especially for us city-dwellers, wildlife and nature can feel distant and strange. With my photography I want to show all these magnificent animals and moments that happen right on our doorsteps.”
Konsta’s nickname Squirrel Whisperer was given to him early on by his social media followers: “People were amazed by how close to the squirrels I got, so someone called me the “Squirrel Whisperer”, and it stuck”, Konsta laughs.
Achieving the once-in-a-lifetime shots takes careful planning and commitment to gain the animals’ trust. In a 2016 interview with Nikon, Konsta revealed how to capture a family of badgers he had to rid of his ‘ human’ scent by first spending a day in a farm rolling in mud so that he could get closer to the badgers. “I now have plenty of places where I can go to find foxes, deer, and elk and they know and trust me”, Konsta explained in the interview.
A major driver for Konsta is to bring wildlife closer to humans and help people understand and appreciate nature and its creatures. To him, the media and especially social media are the perfect vehicles for this.
“The more I can bring people closer to nature through beautiful photography, the more I can get them to hopefully respect it and want to protect it, too.”
As a Finnish family business, Teknos has grown up surrounded by beautiful, wild nature. Working with a photographer who has a similar passion was an obvious choice for Teknos’ global brand campaign, Beyond Beauty, whose idea is to tell the story of Teknos’ values and close relationship with nature.
“We have a long history of looking to nature and being inspired by its innovations in our product development”, says Ulla Kotila, Global Marketing Manager at Teknos. “Beyond Beauty is a manifestation of this: how Teknos draws endless inspiration from nature’s ingenious ways to adapt, design and create.
Similarly, Teknos make paints with more meaning and a function beyond what you first see on the surface. Examples of this are BIORA® AIR, which, much like the forest, helps clean indoor air from harmful chemicals, and FUTURA® AQUA, whose purpose is to increase the durability and lifespan of your furniture – and make it look great.
“Teknos has been a good match for my photography”, Konsta says, adding “and it has been great to see my work being used for a campaign like this.”
Ulla Kotila adds: “Konsta’s photography helps us clarify our overall brand message to consumers; that using Teknos paints, you make a conscious decision to choose products inspired by nature and created to respect it, too.”