The summary of the fourth workshop at The Finnish Museum of Photography (Finland), PART 2

Image by Virve Laustela

The fourth research workshop Fast Forward2: Women in Photographyfunded with The Leverhulme Trust International Network Grant, took place at The Finnish Museum of Photography on May 14 – 15, 2018, hosted by Elina Heikka, Director of the Museum.

Presentations and open discussion took place over the two-day workshop around ideas and themes concerned with the work and position of women photographers today. The summaries of presentations (part two) are below.


Sofia Lahti (Curator, Collections, The Finnish Museum of Photography, Finland)

Social Media Diaries – collecting social photography together

“I will present one of the case studies in our ongoing Collecting Social Photo project, in this case focusing on the social media photo sharing practices of two young Finnish women. Both are active instagrammers, but with two different approaches to the medium”.

Slide from Sofia Lahti’s presentation


Patricia Azevedo (Artist / Curator of FIF BH/ Professor in the Visual Arts, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil)

PICK-ME-UP: collaboration and networks

Patricia Azevedo talked about a flexible practice that occurs when the artists are geographically distant or when they are together, taking advantage of these spatial situations as triggers to develop a kind of “conversation” that updates a common territory, that goes “between” the differences put to talk,  composing a dialogical and performative spaces.


Miia Autio (Visual Artist / Photographer, Finland)

Variation of White & Miss Albino

Through an introduction to my work Variation of White I consider the role of photographic representation in generating power positions and preconceptions. Accompanying video work Miss Albino, depicting a beauty competition for young women with albinism in Tanzania, demonstrates how representation can also work as empowerment – on the other hand leading to more complicated questions about portrayal of women in different contexts.

Slide from Miia Autio’s presentation


Johanna Frigård  (University lecturer, Art History, University of Turku, Finland)

The route of Emmi Fock (1898-1983) into the history of Finnish photography

Emmi Fock was a photographer active especially in 1920s and 1930s in Turku, Finland. She was actively taking part in international exhibitions and competitions and was very much valued as a studio photographer at her time. Anyway, she was all but forgotten before 1990s, when her personal photography attracted the interest of several researchers. In my presentation I will analyse the various reasons for her omission and the role of researchers in including her in the historiography of photography.

Milla Talassalo (Documentary photographer, Finland)

Women photographers representing women

The presentation is based on Talassalo’s ongoing MA thesis research in which she explores how women photographers represent women in the field of documentary photography. She discusses the representation of women and female gaze that are layered and complex phenomena, which offer important aspects into the discourse of contemporary photography.

Image by Milla Talassalo from series ‘Triplet sisterhood, 2017


Erica Nyholm (Artist, Finland)

 Erica Nyholm, artist, spoke about her work, which has been guided by a chapter in a book owned by her grandmother that reflected many of the conservative ideas that she herself was brought up with as one of seven children. The chapter is titled: A Guide for the Young For All Stages of Life, 1863. Erica creates staged tableaux that depict stories from her past and present, the work is autobiographical. Her photographs frequently depict women, mothers, daughters, grandmother and the relationships between them in a spare and deliberate manner.


Leena Saraste (Independent researcher and artist, Finland)

“I would like to talk about the early history of our education – how it facilitated the work of women in photography. The majority of portrait photographers have always  been women, but extremely few in other fields. in 1980  I was asked to write an article about Finnish (contemporary) female photographers and I found just many, three of them in in the beginning of of a promising career: Merja Salo, Liisa Karvonen and Hannele Rantala. They were students at that time. I was astonished to notice how their work and the work of other girls had not been published equally along with the works of male photographers. Was there a real difference in the way they saw the world – and what kind of a difference? A couple of years later we organised in Helsinki an exhibition of women, and there were already 27 interesting participants. Sometimes more than half of the students  have been women even since, as well as teachers”.

Slide from Leena Saraste’s presentation


Merja Salo (Professor of Photography and Visual Communication, Department of Media, Aalto University, Finland)

Merja Salo talked about education and Helsinki School.

Slide from Merja Salo’s presentation


Sohail Akbar  (Associate Professor, AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, India)

Sohail Akbar did a short presentation around a couple of his students current photo projects and talk about them. He showed how they in teaching try to inculcate thinking on issues that are of concern in this part of the world and how their students give it a visual treatment.

Slide from Sohail Akbar’s presentation


The other participants of the workshop who haven’t presented but fully contributed to the discussions:

Anna Fox, Photographer / Professor of Photography at UCA (UK);

Henna Harri, Director, Association of Photographic Artists / Photographic Gallery Hippolyte (Finland);

Elina Heikka, Director of The Finnish Museum of Photography (Finland);

Anni Wallenius, Chief Curator, Collections, The Finnish Museum of Photography (Finland).