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Kella was a student at the Free Art School from 1985 until 1986, and moved on to study photography at the University of Art and Design Helsinki from 1987 to 1993. In 2014 she received a Doctorate in photography from Alto University, her dissertation was entitled 'Translations - Landscape, the face and the presentation of the photograph.'
Life and work
Kella has been teaching since the 1990s. She works on the MA program and is a Senior Lecturer in contemporary art and photography. In 2014 she was appointed vice-dean of the Academy of Fine Arts of the University of the Arts Helsinki.
Her photographic work reflects on the genre of portraiture, challenging its traditional composition to question identity, reality, and authenticity. Talking about her work, Marjaana Kella has stated "My photographs are kind of studies of perception and experience, or of the interface between people’s external and internal spaces."
The series Reversed (1996–1997) presents unusual portraits of individuals turning away from the camera, represented only by the back of their heads. The portraits, almost non-gestural, therefore ignore the subject's facial features to create pictorial, and textured compositions renewing the genre's aesthetic.
For Hypnosis (1997–2001) the artist scrutinises the suspended moment of hypnosis during which her subjects' effort at self-representation are disrupted.
- 2006 Blush - 15 Apr – 21 May 2006 - Van Zoetendaal, Amsterdam
- 2004 Portraits - 13 May – 27 Jun 2004 - Landesgalerie am Oberösterreichischen Landesmuseum, Linz
- 2004 Portraits - Galerie Fotohof, Salzburg
- 2003 Solo Exhibition - 5 Sep – 21 Dec 2003 - Museum of Photography, Helsinki
- 2002 Reversed Portraits - Poller Contemporary - 6 Sep – 31 Oct 2002 - Frankfurt
- 2002 Solo Exhibition Marjaana Kella 26 May – 1 Sep 2002 - Bildmuseet, Umeå
- 2002 Solo Exhibition, 21 Mar – 1 May 2002, Van Zoetendaal, Amsterdam
- 2002 People in hypnosis Marjaana Kella, 21 Mar – 21 Apr 2002, Van Zoetendaal, Amsterdam
- 2001 Marjaana Kella - Photographic Gallery Hippolyte, Helsinki
- 1998 Marjaana Kella: Valokuvia - Photographic Gallery Hippolyte, Helsinki
- 2016 FACE TO FACE - Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki
- 2014 From recto to verso - Galerie van Gelder, Amsterdam
- 2012 Paintings - Face to Face - Works from the Collection of the Kuntsi Foundation and the Swanljung Collection - Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art, Vaasa
- 2011 Alice in Wonderland - An international exhibition of contemporary photographic art - Logomo, Turku
- 2009 I Love Malmö - Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn
- 2009 Paintings - Bleeding Heart - A selection of contemporary art from the collection of Lars Swanljung and from Kuntsi Museu - Joensuun Taidemuseo, Joensuu art museum, Joensuu
- 2009 Booth 67f - Van Zoetendaal, Amsterdam
- 2008 Tuhlaajapojan paluu - Finnish and Nordic Contemporary Art from the Lars Swanljung Collection - Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art, Vaasa
- 2008 Street & Studio: An Urban History of Photography - Tate Modern, London
- 2008 MOON AND HALF DOME - Works from the Hasselblad Foundation collection - Hasselblad Center, Goterborg
- 2007 Objeto de réplica - ARTIUM - Basque Museum Center of Contemporary Art, Vitoria-Gasteiz
- 2007 Der Kontrakt des Fotografen - Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen
- 2007 Here Then - Tampere Art Museum, Tampere
- 2006 Presence - Wäinö Aaltonen Museum, Turku
- 2006 PRESENCE perspectives on Finnish photography, Wäinö Aaltonen Museum, Turku
- 2005 Der Kontrakt des Fotografen - AdK - Akademie der Künste, Berlin
- 2005 WSPOLCZESNA FOTOGRAFIA FINSKA - Centrum Kultury Zamek, Poznan
- 2005 To look or to see - in search of meanings in photography - Cable Factory, Helsinki
- 2004 Fantastiline realism - Sihtasutus Tallinna Kunstihoone Fond, Tallinn
- 2003 Ordnung & Chaos - Fotomuseum Winterthur, Winterthur
- 2002 Minä sinä me - Centre photographique d'Ile-de-France, Pontault Combault
- 2002 New Pictures - Brotherus, Kella, Kolehmainen, Lajunen, Parantainen - Tennis Palace, Helsinki
- 2002 Northern Spell - University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
- 2002 Photography and Video - Sara Hildén Art Museum, Tampere
- 2002 Attachment+ - Kunsthalle Lophem, Loppem-Zedelgem
- 1999 Anna Gaskell, Joachim Schmid, Marjaana Kella - Hasselblad Center, Gothembourg 
- 2002 Marjaana Kella with text by Pia Sivenius and Jan Kaila, published by Van Zoetendaal Publishers, ISBN 9789075574227.
- "Marjaana Kella". kunstmarkt.com.
- "Marjaana Kella appointed as the vice-dean of the Academy of Fine Arts". Kuvataideakatemia. Archived from the original on 3 February 2016.
- "Marjaana Kella - Claxton Projects". claxtonprojects.com.
- "Marjaana Kella". photography-now.com.
- "Marjaana Kella". ArtFacts.net.
- "Marjaana Kella". Van Zoetendaal Publishers.