40 years old | Kimmo Ohtonen is known as a nature journalist, but above all he is interested in people: “I have always been fascinated by why we are just the way we are”

Kimmo Ohtonen has been open about his own difficult childhood in the yoke of a violent father and hopes that it will serve as a peer support for others in the same situation.

HELSINKI is in the grip of a snowstorm, but Kimmo Ohtonen is nowhere to be found. At the request of the photographer, he throws himself on the back of the project, squats for a minute in the cinemas, and finally takes a snow wash on his face.

“It felt good,” he says and laughs.

But wonder what. Ohtonen is known as a gracious nature man and a documentary filmmaker for Yle’s nature programs, whose heart beats especially for domestic wildlife.

Many remember the Ringing snatch. In August 2012, Ohtonen swam 140 kilometers from Savonlinna to Lappeenranta for eleven days and raised more than 134,000 euros for the endangered Saimaa ringed seal. Of course, he can withstand a small blizzard.

FOR A MOMENT to get to the cafe table sitting a troubled man. Ohtonen reveals that nature photography and in the woods are actually a pretty small part of his profession.

In fact, his time is also largely spent in a warm interior with a laptop. Repertoire includes writing articles for Apu magazine and presenting various events and panel discussions. There is also a series of fantasy novels under construction Forever third part. It is due to appear later in the spring.

“When was the last time I took a picture of nature? It’s really time for that, ”Ohtonen apricots.

Ohtonen’s debut work Bear – a power animal was published in 2016. The personal nature book was a candidate for Tieto-Finlandia, the Nature Book of the Year and Bonnier’s Book of the Year and collected a lot of space. With it, Ohtonen gained a reputation as a man of the forests. He is still most interested in people himself.

“It may sound really pompous, but I feel like I’m above all a storyteller. I myself have always been fascinated by why we humans are just the way we are. I will be interested immediately if I hear someone disagrees with me on something, ”Ohtonen says.

STORY Ohtonen says he was inaugurated in Britain. He began his studies in the documentary department at the University of Manchester in 2003 and got an internship at ITV, Britain’s oldest commercial television channel. The internship soon expanded into full-time work.

For three years, Ohtonen worked as a director and background editor in the current affairs program Tonight with Trevor McDonald. The topics covered often reflected the darker aspects of society: pedophilia, domestic violence, and crime.

During his years in England, Ohtonen calls TV storytelling his own school.

“The British understand that television is above all an emotional medium. It was never enough to get a tough thing involved. Emotions and storytelling were always at the center, and viewers were used to it. Probably that is why it was surprisingly easy to get the interviewees to talk openly about their feelings. ”

OHTONEN has wanted to be open about his own life as well. In his debut work and in the interviews that followed the publication of the book, he opened up from his difficult family background. Ohtonen spent his childhood and youth under the command of his father, who abused his family on a weekly basis. The forests formed a breathing hole for him.

Ohtonen says that the decision to talk about difficult things was especially influenced by the fact that even in his youth he used to keep quiet about his experiences and sweep them under the rug. It only caused evil.

Opening up painful memories in interviews was still not easy. Ohtonen says that he was excited about how people would react to a journalist who talks about his traumas.

“Someone asked if there is Bear me a therapy project, ”he recalls. “I replied that it is not. That your terapiaprojektini I have done the right therapy. However, years of therapy visits provided the lunch and tools to address the issue in a broader context and thereby provide peer support to others. ”

OHTONEN seems like a pretty nice man. He announces that he wants to pay the supplier for coffee and offers another ride home after the interview.

Ohtonen says that kindness and consideration for others are important values ​​for him. She says she got the example from her mother, who died in 2008.

“My mother was a social worker and drove me and my brother with me to the Visually Impaired Association camps. It was his way of raising us to humane values, even though he could not protect us at home, ”Ohtonen says.

“It may sound like Jesus, but they have been really valuable experiences, and doing good certainly comes from there. If I want to make someone proud in my life, that would be the mother. ”

Kimmo Ohtonen

Born in 1981 in Kerava. Lives in Pornais.

Journalist, author and nature photographer

Awarded for his Norppauinti capture at Golden Venla as the TV act of the year 2013.

The debut work Karhu – power animal was a candidate for Tieto-Finlandia, the Nature Book of the Year and Bonnier’s Book of the Year 2016. Fantasy novels Ikimaa – Kuiskaajate Kilta (2019) and Ikimaa – Soturin tie (2018).

Turns 40 on Friday, January 22nd.


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