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 that are planned around old photographs taken from the area. An integral part of these walks is the possibility to rephotograph historical images and get guidance for it. With the help of 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.
As the COVID-19 pandemic broke out on March and we were advised to stop all offline (in-person) events, a new form of activity had to be created. We transformed our concept into events with online instructions. Throughout the pandemic, Finns have been encouraged by the government/health authorities to take outdoors exercise, though keeping a safe distance from others. We thought this might be a good time for people to discover their local areas in an outdoor activity that doesn’t require social interaction in a situation where hobbies and social activities are under restriction. So we created materials on selected areas where participants would take their walks independently, based on information (instructions, maps, texts, photographs) on our website. There is also a possibility to rephotograph the locations of the old photographs. This format would provide accessible activities for all, as it is also possible to view the materials online without entering the streets.
Tours and challenges
Helsinki in old photographs series includes five online instructed tours and two other challenges. One focus was to introduce a visual history of well-known Helsinki neighbourhoods, but also thematic tours of culture and architecture.
Helsinki in old photographs independently walked tours March-July 2020:
Kallio was well presented this spring because of its central location, liveliness, and interesting history, but also because of a fruitful collaboration with Kallio Walking Festival, and Kallio Blossoms festival (in May) of which our tour and challenge were part of. Architecture of Helsinki Olympic games of 1952 was part of the Helsinki Day (12.6.) program. University buildings of Helsinki central campus was organised in collaboration with The Guided Art Historical Tours. The Guided Art Historical Tours themselves switched to creating videos on the architecture of the Helsinki university during COVID-19 instead of walking tours which were good linkable content for us.