Helsinki Rephotography aims to encourage the activity of retaking photographs of landscapes and architecture in Helsinki, in order to engage people in the history of their local area, but also to collect new open licensed or public domain images of the city. This has previously been done by organising guided walking tours and online material packs that are planned around old photographs taken from different areas in Helsinki. An integral part of these walks is the possibility to rephotograph historical images and get guidance for it. With the help of the Ajapaik mobile phone application, users can easily find an angle and a crop to match the old photographs in order to create new ones, which will then stay in Ajapaik for others to see.
After a long pause in group activities, due to COVID-19 restrictions, we started our in-person tours again in the autumn of 2021. The concept was re-evaluated from a pedagogical point of view and developed into a crossover between a guided tour and a rephotography workshop in the streets of Helsinki. Emphasis was placed on getting participants to freely take photographs and to build up their confidence in continuing rephotography work also outside the workshop. We named this activity “photowalks”, loosely based on an international communal activity format in which people walk together in an area and take photographs of their environment. The walks were conducted through a co-operation between arts educator Nanna Saarhelo and a varying guide specialised in each theme. The sessions were 1.5 hours long and started with a short introduction of the theme and of rephotography both as a concept and a technique. Then we strolled around in the city, stopping in places that appear in several historical photographs, took rephotographs and discussed. The guide provided information about each location and gave background to the historical imagery. The walks were concentrated on contemplation around images and aimed for discussions within the group rather than solely passing on information. The experience was very pleasant, a communal gathering around historical images and the city.
Because of COVID-19, the number of participants was limited to 15 (including the organizers) and the whole activity happened outdoors. We also had enrollment (though the event was free) in order to collect contact information in case of COVID-19 infections.
Dates and themes
28.9. and 2.10. Photowalk in the heart of Kallio neighbourhood.
Prepared in co-operation with Kallio walking festival and the city guide Juhani Styrman, who is specialised in the history of the area.
5.10.2021 and 12.10.2021 Photowalk in the footsteps of photographer Signe Brander.
The guide was Salla Lindgren, who is very familiar with Signe Brander’s photographs and Helsinki in the beginning of the 20th century.
16.10. Photowalk in the footsteps of photographer Ivan Timiriasew.
Prepared in co-operation with Helsinki City Museum and Iisa Aaltonen, who is a historian and a sociologist concentrated on the history and cultural politics of Helsinki. She is also co-author of the book Ivan Timiriasew – Helsinkiläinen valokuvaaja, published in the autumn of 2021.
Live stream events, Helsinki 2021
When the weather became too cold for photowalks, we organised two 45 minute live stream events in the Kallio neighbourhood in co-operation with Kallio walking festival and city guide Juhani Styrman. Through these events people could participate in a photowalk from the comfort of their home. The events were live streamed in Helsinki kuvissa Facebook group and Wikimedia Finland’s Facebook page and gathered several hundred viewings. They were organised as experiments of concept and technique within live streaming rephotography action.
Dates and themes
25.11. The history of Karhupuisto park
14.12. The demolished houses of Hakaniemi Market Square