About Lassi Rautiainen

Lassi’s mission and nature conservation

Through his work, Lassi seeks to bring people closer to nature; to demonstrate its beauty and assure people they are safe in the wilds. He wishes to bring them close to the wildlife  he so much admires, to let people experience the beauty of the “big five”, and to share his respect for these animals. During the long years he has spent defending Finland’s wolves, bears and wolverines, educating the public through his photos, articles, books, slide shows and so on, he has striven to eradicate distorted myths and to emphasise the sheer beauty of Finland’s large carnivores.

Despite encountering immense resistance and threats on personal, legal and political levels, Lassi has continued his mission on behalf of Finnish wildlife. Thanks to this dedication there is little poaching nowadays around Wildlife Lassi Rautiainen´s photo locations and general acceptance of wildlife and wildlife tourism has dramatically spread.

Lassi’s pioneering work

Lassi is Finland’s pioneer in the field of photo tourism and photo hide tourism. His first photos were of bears in 1978: then he graduated to wolverines, and eventually to wolves for his own professional photographic purposes. Little by little, increasing numbers of  nature photographers, initially from Sweden and Norway, but later from countries all over the world, have become interested in the species mentioned in our list.

Lassi has laid the practical and legal basis for later Finnish photo safari organisers by setting an example as well as by offering advice. He has also worked closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and politicians concerning the legal use of bait for photography and a ban on bear hunting around Wildlife Lassi Rautiainen’s photo locations. He has advised Finnish, Swedish, Russian, Estonian and German firms and people from many countries on the introduction of photo tourism, in particular photo hide and predator tourism.

Additionally, Lassi founded the international Kuusamo Nature Photo Festival now held every September, serving as the festival’s Artistic Director from 1996 to 2010. This international event constitutes Finland’s first international nature photo festival.

Short Curriculum Vitae

  • Numerous exhibitions since 1978
  • Freelance writer and photographer, sports journalist from 1978-89
  • Approx. 25 books since 1984
  • Advertising and photo agency, Articmedia book publishers since 1988
  • Photo safari organiser since 1991
  • Economics director for Luontokuva (Nature Photo) magazine 1992-99
  • Managing Director of Kustannus Oy Luonnonkuvaaja 
(publishing company of Finnish Nature Photo Association) 1994-2000
  • Founder and Art Director of the Kuusamo Nature Photo Festival, 1996-2010
  • Over 100 slide shows or equivalent in around a dozen countries
  • Europe’s best mammal photo (brown bear) and bird photo (great grey owl) 2005
  • Nature photo of the year in Finland (wolves and bear) 2007
  • Finnfoto prize 2008 (Finnfoto singles out one Finnish photographer a year for an award  
for an outstanding contribution to the sector)
  • Rewarded with the Kajaani culture prize in 2008
  • Artist of the year 2009 in the municipality of Suomussalmi
  • Recipient of the Kainuu region art prize in 2009