Together, the portraits and the subjects’ life stories paint a contemporaneous picture of Finland today. The years and the people recount the story of Finland as an independent nation, with all those involved presented as heroes.
“I have photographed and interviewed one hundred Finnish citizens born between 1917 and 2017, one person for each year of independence. My approach is informed by the road photography tradition. During this project, I have toured Finland with my camera, in a bid to capture the essence of Finnishness and in search of some of the major issues of our time. The people featured in these photographs have been chosen at random, although I have sought to make sure that, together, they are representative of society as a whole. What I have set out to do is create a contemporary snapshot of Finland that also incorporates our wider historical context. This is not purely about taking a subjective or contemporary art approach to history, it is also about exploring people’s dreams and memories, and their ideas about what constitutes ‘the good life’. The portraits and the autobiographical texts created by my subjects also invite the viewer to consider what life between the East and the West was like. I believe my work has genuine value as a social, documentary and scientific record of Finland and Finnishness in 2017.” Hannu Pakarinen.
The exhibition is part of the official programme on the centenary of Finland’s independence.