Search results for "Heikki Willamo"

Under cover

29 March 2012 | Extracts, Non-fiction

Soul-bird: crested tit. Photo: Heikki Willamo

The photographer and writer Heikki Willamo lived for a year in the forest – not full-time, but for long periods in all seasons, sleeping in his lean-to. This two-hundred, preserved hectare fragment lies in the midst of felled clearings, farmed forest and habitation in southern Finland.

Many Finns still say that being in a forest is a peaceful and empowering experience; Willamo recorded his thoughts on this as well as his black-and-white photographs in his book, Vuosi metsässä (‘A year in the forest’, Maahenki, 2012. See also extracts from Viimeiset vieraat [‘The last visitors’] here) More…

Animal magic

3 June 2014 | Extracts, Non-fiction

Roe deer, Sweden. Photo: Mats Andersson

Roe deer, Sweden. Photo: Mats Andersson

A day in the life of an elk, of a lynx? Nature photographers venture into the depths of forests, in pursuit of the inhabitants – predator and prey, mythical and real. Photographs from Kohtaamisia (‘Encounters’), by Mats Andersson and Heikki Willamo, text by Willamo (Maahenki & Musta Taide [Black Art], 2014)

The feelings in our dreams. They well from depths – from those layers of awareness that the mind does not shackle. In sleep we handle and organise the events of our lives in a way which is impossible when awake, when we are conscious of ourselves and our limitations. That is why animals can come into my dreams as friends, equal partners, like me, and therefore I so often dream of having their abilities and skills.

When awake we think all the time. We think about past events and worry about the future or dream of something better. Very seldom do we live in the moment.  Photographs are passing moments, often only a thousandth of a second long, but sometimes lasting minutes or even hours. In finished photographs the beholder can see much more – he adds his memories or dreams of the future. The picture-taking moment vanishes, something else comes in its stead. More…

Nature’s own

22 April 2010 | Extracts, Non-fiction

As night falls, the silence is broken by pattering of small feet on the greying windowsill of an old, abandoned house: entire families may live under the rotten floorboards. Houses now inhabited not by humans but by wild animals are observed by Kai Fagerström and Heikki Willamo

The wolf's hour? An abandoned house is alive...

Extracts from Viimeiset vieraat. Elämää autiotaloissa [The last visitors. Life in abandoned houses, Maahenki, 2010] by Kai Fagerström, Risto Rasa & Heikki Willamo. Text by Willamo, poems by Rasa, photographs by Fagerström and Willamo

Some thirty years later I found the badgers’ cottage again – it wasn’t the same one, but the mood of my childhood still floated there. Grey walls and a shingle roof, bare gaping windows, the door creaking on its single hinge. Oak tree in the yard, lilacs flourishing wild. The forest was rapidly reclaiming its own behind the cottage. The mounds of sand beside the wall bases showed prints of strong-clawed paws and a number of paths, hardened from use, led into the woods. More…

Coming up…

19 March 2012 | This 'n' that

Landing: a red-throated diver. Photo: Heikki Willamo

Photographer and writer Heikki Willamo specialises in the fauna and flora of Finnish forests. Fascinated also by abandoned houses, he has caught of glimpses creatures claiming windowless buildings and deserted rooms as their own: raccoons, birds, mice and foxes.

His new book examines the seasons in an area of 200 hectares in southern Finland, protected from forestry and other use. Willamo spends days and nights capturing what he sees in black-and-white photographs. His thoughts also wander, taking stock of his experience of life. We publish extracts and photos from Vuosi metsässä (‘A year in the forest’, Maahenki, 2012).

On Heikki Turunen

31 March 1977 | Archives online, Authors

Heikki Turunen

Heikki Turunen.
Photo: Heikki Turunen

Since the 1960s the social and emotional problems caused by the shift of population from the country to the towns have been one of the predominant themes of the regional novel. But while novels on this subject are seldom lacking in sociological interest, the quality of the writing is not always very high. Two writers whose work does stand out are the late Timo K. Mukka, whose novels are set in Northern Finland, and Heikki Turunen (1945– ), who writes about North Karelia. The latter is the part of Finland that has suffered most acutely from the mechanization of traditional occupations and the ensuing depopulation as people have been forced to seek new sources of livelihood either in Southern Finland or in Sweden.

Heikki Turunen grew up in a remote backwoods area of North Karelia where his father had a smallholding. After leaving school he worked for a time as a journalist on a local newspaper and saw for himself the misery caused by depopulation. His first novel, Simpauttaja (‘The Dabster’, Werner Söderström 1973, published also in Swedish by Raben & Sjögren in 1976: Livaren) became a best seller on the scale of the major works of Mika Waltari and Väinö Linna, despite the fact that it is very local in content and is written in broad North Karelian dialect. The novel is set in Turunen’s home area, which is seen through the eyes of a young man attempting to come to terms with the disintegration of the traditional way life. More…

Heikki Hiilamo: Kuoleman listat. Suomalaisten salainen apu Chilen vainotuille [Death lists. Secret assistance of the Finns to Chilean dissidents]

17 September 2010 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Kuoleman listat. Suomalaisten salainen apu Chilen vainotuille
[Death lists. Secret assistance by Finns to Chilean dissidents]
Helsinki: Otava, 2010. 362 p., ill.
ISBN 978-951-1-24003-7
€ 32, hardback

The 1973 Chilean coup that ousted President Salvador Allende, and the subsequent persecution of dissidents, forced Allende’s supporters to seek asylum in foreign embassies. A number of refugees climbed over the wall of the Santiago home of Finland’s chargé d’affaires, Tapani Brotherus. As the Finnish official line of neutrality was to avoid interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, Brotherus was taking a great personal risk, by allowing this, and keeping it secret from the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. With the help of the embassy’s undersecretary and the East German diplomat Arnold Voigt, he and his wife succeeded in helping some 2, 200 people to leave Chile. Brotherus also helped 182 political refugees to obtain asylum in Finland. Heikki Hiilamo, who is now Research Professor at Kela, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, describes the background of the Chilean dictatorship and the development of the broad-based solidarity movement, which has been characterised as one of the central formative experiences of the generation that grew up in 1970s Finland. The movement’s activists included future Finnish presidents Mauno Koivisto and Tarja Halonen, as well as the future Nokia CEO Jorma Ollila.

Ove Enqvist & Heikki Tiilikainen: Linnakesaaret. Rannikkolinnakkeiden elämää sodassa ja rauhassa [The fortress islands. The life of the coastal bastions in war and peace]

2 October 2014 | Mini reviews, Reviews

linnakesaaretLinnakesaaret. Rannikkolinnakkeiden elämää sodassa ja rauhassa
[Fortress islands. The life of coastal bastions in war and peace]
Helsinki: Tammi, 2014. 301 pp., ill.
ISBN 978-951-31-8005-8
€53.90, hardback

Finland’s coastal artillery was created after independence in 1918 to protect the country’s long coastline. Part of the system was, however, built in the early 20th century during the period of Russian rule for artillery batteries that were formed to provide security for St Petersburg. This carefully constructed and handsomely illustrated ‘coffee table book’, by two former bastion officers and non-fiction authors, charts the history of the coastal artillery until the decommissioning of the service: in 1998 its functions were transferred to other branches of the military. The main emphasis is on the early history, and nearly half of the book is devoted to a portrayal of the Second World War period. During the Winter and Continuation Wars the coastal artillery played a major role in Finland’s defence. Fierce artillery battles took place on the fortress islands, and there was also hand-to-hand fighting on them. The book presents a comprehensive account the development and operation of the bastions and the artillery in both wartime and peacetime. Light is shed on the diverse aspects of the working lives and recreations of soldiers and civilians in the harsh and demanding conditions of the outer islands.

Translated by David McDuff

Heikki Hiilamo: Uusi hyvinvointivaltio [The new welfare state]

1 June 2011 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Uusi hyvinvointivaltio
[The new welfare state]
Helsinki: Like Publishing, 2011. 131 p.
ISBN 978-952-01-0615-7
€ 17, paperback

There is concern in Finland about the decline of the Nordic welfare state and the return of a class society. Problems exist with regard to issues such as the country’s aging population, changes in the structure of the labour market, the increase in income disparity, and lifestyle issues. The impoverishment caused by the recession of the 1990s did not decrease in the early 2000s, as could be seen in things like the rise of bread lines, much debated by Finns. The author – an expert on the welfare state and a poverty researcher – examines the values of the good society and its institutions. He discusses welfare as the politics of social possibilities: ‘The current system does not sufficiently allow the individual to come up with his own initiatives for positive change – instead, it fetters those initiatives.’ Hiilamo’s campaining book reflects on how the welfare state could be developed twenty years after the recession crisis, and how the middle class might be brought to realise that the growth in income disparity also affects their own welfare.
Translated by David McDuff


Picture this

9 April 2015 | Articles

It’s impossible to put Finnish graphic novels into one bottle and glue a clear label on to the outside, writes Heikki Jokinen. Finnish graphic novels are too varied in both graphics and narrative – what unites them is their individuality. Here is a selection of the Finnish graphic novels published in 2014

Graphic novels are a combination of image and word in which both carry the story. Their importance can vary very freely. Sometimes the narrative may progress through the force of words alone, sometimes through pictures. The image can be used in very different ways, and that is exactly what Finnish artists do.

In many countries graphic novels share some common style or mainstream in which artists aim to place themselves. In recent years an autobiographical approach has been popular all over the worlds in graphic novels as well as many other art forms. This may sometimes have led to a narrowing of content as the perspective concentrates on one person’s experience. Often the visual form has been felt to be less important, and clearly subservient to the text. This, in turn, has sometimes even led to deliberately clumsy graphic expression.

This is not the case in Finland: graphic diversity lies at the heart of Finnish graphic novels. Appreciation of a fluent line and competent drawing is high. The content of the work embraces everything possible between earth and sky.

Finnish graphic novels are indeed surprisingly well-known and respected internationally precisely for the diversity of their content and their visual mastery.

Life on the block

Minä, Mikko ja Annikki

‘Shall we go and look at our new house? / Yeah. / Did you move house? / Yeah, to one without a floor. / At least you have head-space! / This is where the mould was. / Oh dear!’. Tiitu Takalo, Minä, Mikko ja Annikki (‘Me, Mikko and Annikki’, Suuri kurpitsa).


The funeral

31 December 1988 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

Hannu Salama’s short story Hautajaiset (‘The funeral’) – taking place in Pispala, Tampere – in the volume Kesäleski, ‘Summer widow’, was published in 1969. Introduction by Pekka Tarkka

On Tuesday Venla came round: as Sulo was being lowered into the grave Vihtori had had a heart attack. The next day a letter arrived from father: funeral on Sunday, and Gunilla and Timo want you to speak at the grave. I telegraphed back: ‘Vikki too close to me. Unable to speak.’ Outside the post office I realised I could have sent fifty words for the same money.

Irma ordered a flower arrangement. Did I want to put an inscription? Part of the last stanza of a revolutionary song went through my head:

Sowing makes the corn come into ear:
Hundredfold higher that happier age will be.

I said not to put anything, I’d say something at the grave if it seemed the thing to do. I told her to put mother’s, father’s and Heikki’s names on, and we’d take these off if they’d sent their own wreath. More…

Aho & Soldan: Helsinki 1950-luvun väreissä / Helsingfors in 1950-talets färger / Helsinki in 1950’s colours

11 January 2015 | Mini reviews, Reviews

helsinkiAho & Soldan: Helsinki 1950-luvun väreissä / Helsingfors in 1950-talets färger / Helsinki in 1950’s colours
Teksti / text: Eino Leino
Translation into Swedish by Marjut Hökfelt, into English by Elina Adams
Helsinki: Gummerus, 2014. 168 pp., ill.
ISBN 978-951-20-9527-8
€36.90, hardback

The photographer Claire Aho (born 1925) is the granddaughter of the author and journalist Juhani Aho (1861–1921) and his artist wife Venny Soldan-Brofeldt. Two of Aho’s sons, Heikki and Björn, became photographers and documentary film producers, founding the company Aho & Soldan. In the 1940s Heikki’s daughter Claire began to work for Aho & Soldan and becme a well-known fashion photographer. She also began photographing her native Helsinki; in 1952 she was assigned to film the Helsinki Summer Olympics. She continued her collaboration with Pathé News until the early 1960s. Colour came, literally, into the picture after the war; the photographs in this book feature life in the 1950s Helsinki. The photographs in their gently faded colours of the still small city, its inhabitants, parks, buildings and monuments are taken by either the two brothers or Claire Aho – in their time they were all signed just by Aho & Soldan. In his essay journalist Eino Leino portrays life in the city that he remembers from his own childhood in the post-war era, which to today’s reader appears sweetly idyllic, somehow optimistic and peaceful; the city has changed greatly – and yet stayed the same.

Sun and shade

3 August 2011 | Extracts, Non-fiction

Springtime: the new graduates celebrate the beginning of summer. Photos: ©Jussi Brofeldt

Documentary film-making and photography arrived in Finland in the 1920s with pioneers like Heikki Aho and Björn Soldan, who founded a film company in 1925 in Helsinki. They also took thousands of photographs of their city; in a selection taken in the turbulent 1930s, people go on about their lives, rain or shine

Photographs from Aho & Soldan: Kaupunkilaiselämää – Stadsliv – City life. Näkymiä 1930-luvun Helsinkiin (‘Views of Helsinki of the 1930s’, WSOY, 2011)
Photos: Aho & Soldan@Jussi Brofeldt. Texts, by Jörn Donner and Ilkka Kippola, are published in Finnish, Swedish and English.
The exhibition ‘City life‘ is open at Virka Gallery of the Helsinki City Hall from 1 June to 4 September.

Aho and Soldan were half-brothers, Heikki the eldest son of the writer Juhani Aho (1861–1921; an extract from one of his novels is available here) and the artist Venny Soldan-Brofeldt. (Juhani Aho changed his original Swedish surname, Brofeldt, to Aho in 1907), Björn Soldan was Aho’s son from an extramarital relationship. More…

In the starry heavens

31 March 1987 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

An extract from Tähtien tarhoissa (‘In the starry heavens’, 1912). Introduction by Matti Apunen

The sun sank and the evening began to draw in. It was a Wednesday towards the end of October, 2140. At Teuvo’s house the electric lights were being switched on.

Teuvo lived in Helsinki on what had once been Korkeavuori Street. Now it had no particular name. It was just Street No 311, for during the course of time there had been so many new streets that it had become impossible to name them all and numbering became necessary.

Teuvo’s home was on the thirtieth storey. But of course it was not important how high up you lived, because no one used stairs. Lifts had replaced the old flights of stairs, and even they were only seldom necessary.

Every storey had an airship stop, and since everyone, even the smallest children, had a pair of wings made of fine aluminium, it was very easy to go from one floor to another without using stairs.

Teuvo looked out of the window. There was a wide space between houses. On the right hand side of the road traffic was flying towards the centre of town, on the left in the opposite direction. What a lot of people there were! He could hear the even whisper of their wings. All kinds of people, old and young, were flying along. More…

Jean Sibelius kodissaan. Jean Sibelius, i sitt hem. Jean Sibelius at home

19 August 2011 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Jean Sibelius kodissaan. Jean Sibelius, i sitt hem. Jean Sibelius at home
Toimittanut [Edited by] Jussi Brofeldt
Helsinki: Teos, 2010. 103 p., ill.
ISBN 978-951-851-364-6
€ 29, hardback

The composer Jean Sibelius (1865–1957) disliked being photographed. This book contains 50 stills selected from the documentary film Jean Sibelius at home, a compilation of cinematographic material in which the composer is seen at home in 1927 and 1945. Some of the shots were originally cut, and have not been previously published. The film was made by the brothers Heikki Aho and Björn Soldan, who were neighbours of Sibelius in their childhood – their father was the author Juhani Aho, a friend of the Sibelius family. Founded in the 1920s, the film company Aho & Soldan was influenced by the experimental spirit of the Bauhaus and became known for its commissioned work aimed at spreading the image of Finland abroad. The Sibelius film offers a rare peek into the composer’s home life at his villa of Ainola. In addition to the photographs, the trilingual book also contains seven articles on Sibelius and the film. Heikki Aho’s daughter, the pioneer photographer Claire Aho relates her own memories of the 1945 filming. Jussi Brofeldt, the book’s editor, is her son.
Translated by David McDuff

Reima Luoto & al: Suomen sota 1808–1809 [The Finnish War of 1808–1809]

27 March 2009 | Mini reviews

Suomen sotaLuoto, Reima T.A. & Talvitie, Heikki & Visuri, Pekka:
Suomen sota 1808–1809: taustat, tapahtumat, muistomerkit
[The Finnish War of 1808–1809: background, events, memorials]
Espoo: Fenix-Kustannus, 2008. 260 p., ill.
ISBN 978-951-862-183-9
€ 36, hardback

As a result of the 1808–1809 Russian-Swedish war, Finland, which had until then belonged to Sweden, was annexed to the Russian Empire, and Finland was established as an autonomous grand duchy. In this 200th anniversary year, several books about the war have already appeared. In its introduction, this book examines the birth and development of the idea of Finnish independence from the reign of Sweden’s King Gustav III onwards. Articles in the volume discuss the place of Finland and Sweden in Europe during the period of the Napoleonic war, and in an article which includes a survey of the present day, Finland’s OSCE envoy Ambassador Heikki Talvitie shows how Sweden has consistently adhered to the foreign policy it formed in the year 1812. Finally, there is a presentation of the real and fictional heroes of J.L. Runeberg’s  Fänrik Ståls sägner (‘The Tales of Ensign Stål’, 1848–60), and a guide to the monuments in Finland and Sweden which commemorate the war.