Pentti Sammallahti was born in 1950 in Helsinki, Finland. Sammallahti was surrounded with works from his grandmother, Hildur Larsson, who was a photographer in the early 1900s. Sammallahti has been photographing the world around him with a poetic eye since the age of eleven. At the age of nine he visited "The Family of Man" exhibition at the Helsinki Art Hall, confirming his photographic vocation early in life. Featured in solo exhibitions by the age of 21, Sammallahti continued to exhibit and teach at the Helsinki University of Art and Design until receiving the Finnish State's 15-year artist grant in 1991. Sammallahti describes himself as a nomad who enjoys the nature of the great north: the darkness, the cold, and the sea. Sammallahti is a master craftsman, carefully toning his prints, to create a poetic atmosphere of desolate silence.
Sammallahti was honored to be included among the 100 favorite photographs in the personal collection of Henri Cartier-Bresson, which was the inaugural exhibition for the Foundation Henri Cartier-Bresson in 2003. Since 1979, Pentti Sammallahti has published thirteen books and portfolios and has received awards such as the Samuli Paulaharju Prize of the Finnish Literature Society, State Prizes for Photography, Uusimaa Province Art Prize, Daniel Nyblin Prize, and the Finnish Critics Association Annual.