MARJA PIRILÄWorks 4.1.2014 – 2.2.2014
I have to dig deep into the darkness again to find the photograph in camera obscura. In the dim room my eyes adjust to see the reflexions of light, dreamlike illusions that emerge when the interior and the exterior mix with each other. And in the dark room the surprise is always there - a blind photographer getting their sight back! In the end I can see what I was looking for, fluttering in front of my eyes. I open the shutter and expose the picture.
Late in the winter of 2013 I worked in Rovaniemi, in the place where I was born. The magic of the places where I used to play inspired me to take photographs of children using the camera obscura method. I dove into the world of children and young people, to the moments of wonder and being present. The result was a series of pictures that depict those in them and their surroundings, as well as memories and recollections of my own childhood. The new photographs continue the Exterior/Interior series that I photographed in Finland, Norway, Italy and France between 1996 and 2007.
I photographed the Milavida series at the palace in Tampere, now known as Näsilinna, which was completed in 1898. As I spent long hours taking photos in the empty silence of the building, its rooms began to breathe the palace's wild and eventful past. It felt like the past and present were having a dialogue in the dark rooms that I had turned into camera obscuras. I photographed the spaces of transition: doors, doorways and thresholds as they reflect my emotions toward change and the unknown and my love for light and its temperamental nature.
In the Milavida/Nottbeck series, I used Peter and Olga von Nottbeck's family photo album. They build the Milavida palace as their home and a place for entertaining guests, but, tragically, they died just as the house was completed, leaving four small children orphaned. I have integrated old album pictures with solarigraphs exposed in the palace surroundings. The sun's tracks drawn in the images merge with the old pictures of the family that no longer exists.
In The Birth of a Photograph/Encyclopedy Camera obscura, a pile of old encyclopaedias has gone through a metamorphosis. The series depicts the birth of a photograph in both a physical and literal sense. I produced this work in collaboration with photographer Petri Nuutinen.