Meeri Koutaniemi is a Finnish freelance photographer born in Kuusamo but living in Helsinki. She studied photojournalism at the University of Tampere. She has worked as a journalist and a photographer in more than 20 countries.
She received the Portrait of the Year award and an honourable mention in the Foreign Reportage category of the 2011 Finnish Press Photo of the Year contest. In October 2012 she received the Tim Hetherington Memorial Award.
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Oasis de San Juan de Dios is located on the Yucatán peninsula in Mexico, in the small village of Conkal. It is a care home for HIV/AIDS patients, and is known simply as Oasis.
Finnish photographer Meeri Koutaniemi became interested in Oasis and the stories of its patients. After seeing a documentary trailer about the subject made by Alejandro Cárdenas, she immediately booked her flight to Mexico. Instead of visiting Mexico for a month, the country became like a second home for Koutaniemi. She worked on her Oasis series together with Cárdenas.