Photographic Short Stories – How it all began

Photographic Short Stories – How it all began

In 2005 I bought from a flea market in Vallila, Helsinki, the written chattels of an
unknown woman. As I studied the material over the years her life and persona began
to open to me. I made a portrait of her to my series ‘Alienation Stories 2009’. This
reconstructed portrait had lots of inherent deficiencies and I never finished it.
However, it was a catalyst for a much more detailed project, ‘Photographic Short
Stories’. At that time I did not know that this purchase would later on take all my
money and time. I’m glad I didn’t.

Many things have I witnessed through 

this window. Faithfully it has reflected everything back: 

the road sign, fallen along the roadside,

looks of the road users,

an invader’s march, the nails struck

though palms,

 

the noble family, the cold war, a singing

boy, banking crisis, yearning eyes,

acid rain, the intoxicating flesh,

the dense silence, cries of pain,

 

aimless rushing about, an injured knee,

monuments, natural phenomena, 

insecurities, the rising sea level,

stovepipes forever dead now, retaliation on generation 

after generation, uninvited guests,

the cellar door,

the missile crisis in Cuba,

travels long as light years, the birch-lined alleyway,

the unstable cradle, the low altar.

the wooden boats burned in Midsummer bonfires,

rebuilding, the stones skipped on water,

the mute mouth of my gentle father

 

the swollen rowan berries

the drunken birds

hay poles and diesel engines

the pink dress, blooming willowherb

the demonstrations, noise, contempt

the pared- down dreams, longing, all the evenings

the touch of my coarse husband

lingering pleasure

aircraft carriers,

the water which  tastes of iron

full stomachs,

empty stomachs, 

the salty taste of many tongues

 

building the Wall

breaking of the Wall

liberation of Nelson Mandela

 

the broken dishes and the radio static

the Vietnam war, the thrown rice on Church steps,

blossoms and  withered flowers,

my grandmother’s bath robe,

the long Sundays, the ersatz coffee

attractive bodies, suicide bombers,

the sunflower- patterned pants, four-o-clock rush hour

full moons

half moons

the unexpected homecomings

 

when Anna the neighbour’s cervix dilated giving birth 

the insults, the proposals of marriage

the broken bridge of Haapamäki

the table settings

the smell of wet peat, the cry of my firstborn 

questioning my faith

the sudden movements of my attention- seeking sister

the industrial development

the EEC, Laura’s worries about varicose veins,

money transactions

lakeside views on summer mornings

the roughness of touch

the changing shape of 

love.

 

All this and still more.