Personal Space

This is part of our special feature, New Nordic Voices.

“Personal Space” is a photography series showcasing the works of three emerging Finnish artists. Layering archival materials and staged photographs in stunning hues of blue, Anni Hanén aims to expose traces of memory. Kimmo Metsäranta turns to urban spaces in his native city of Helsinki, isolating buildings from their original surroundings in order to make them “momumental-like attractions.” Also inspired by his environment, Jaakko Kahilaniemi utilizes photography to explore the hundred hectares of forest that he inherited in 1997, applying an alchemical process to make “art out of the familiar.”

–Kayla Maiuri for EuropeNow


Anni Hanén


Trace 02

Trace 06

Trace 07

Trace 14

Trace 15


In my series “Trace,” my aim is to uncover different traces of memory; those expressing emotions, places or people. The process starts from daily life, by hearing, seeing, reading or experiencing the things that draw my attention. I like to think of my images as poems, made from a deeply personal point of view in order to understand universal feelings.

I use different layers of poetic forms to create my rhythms—from free verse to storytelling. For me, it is important to create a specific language for each of my stories. Within this work, I’m using both cyanotype and digital collage to combine archival materials and staged photographs. The archives range from old family albums to mobile snapshots. Although my starting points are notes from daily life, it is the power of the imagination that allows this work to touch upon universal experiences.

The main themes in my work are perishability and invisibility, combined with a critical look at the everyday habits that usually go unquestioned. At the same time, I want to tell stories that are clearly separate from our day to day reality. My use of the color blue is something that I can’t date exactly but is essential to the feeling of the work.


Anni Hanén was born in Lahti, Finland in 1981. She received her BA (2010) and MA (2013) from Aalto University, School of Art, Design and Architecture, Department of Media from Photography. After graduating she has worked with her series Just Small Hiccups, and has created her first photo book from the series, published by Kehrer Verlag. Hanén has influence on fine art photography field in Finland being member of the board (2017-) at Union of Artist Photographers in Finland. From 2014 she has been teaching and keeping workshops in visual arts and photography in the Helsinki area, inter alia in the Finnish Museum of Photography. Since 2004 she has participated in solo and group exhibitions and has received various grants. Hanén lives and works in Helsinki. Hanén´s first monograph Just Small Hiccups was published a year ago, fall 2016, by the world’s leading publishers of photo books, Kehrer Verlag. Her works have been exhibited in solo exhibitions in Finland and in different group exhibitions in Europe. Her works have been seen also in international photography festivals, as in Festival Circulation(s) in Paris. Festival Circulation(s) curator Natalie Herschdorfer chose Hanén´s Just Small Hiccups work as one of the most touching projects in the festival. Her works has been chosen also as finalist in many international competitions, like Discovery Award (Encontros da Imagem – International Photography Festival, PT) and Nordic Dummy Award (NO). Hanén´s works are frequently represented in various photography medias and blogs.


Kimmo Metsäranta






“Notes on a Place” is a series where I try to pay attention to my immediate surroundings in a new way. From the mundane view I try to find the things that strike me the most. These urban spots catch my eye either by shape, matter or colour. The minimalist images are modified abstractions detached from their original surroundings in order to make the places and objects monumental-like attractions.


Kimmo Metsäranta is a visual artist based in Helsinki, Finland. He received his BA from Turku University of Applied Sciences and his MA from Aalto University School of Art and Design. His work has been widely exhibited in Finland and abroad and he was nominated for the Fotofinlandia award in 2008 and 2011 and EmmaPrize in 2009. Also, his project Animal Behaviour was shortlisted for the Sony World Photography Award in 2015. Kimmo works mostly in the commercial field of photography but shoots also personal projects. He has done projects for numerous clients and magazines, including: Fazer, Nanso, Sampo Group, Flow festival, HP, Sato, Elovena, De Lénclos, Ray, Sicky-magazine, Parliament of Finland, Solar Films, Universal Music, REVS, Vice, Schön! Neue Journal, Teos publishing, Fried music, S -magazine, Nasty, and Time magazine.



Jaakko Kahilaniemi

54 Soil Solutions, 2017100 Mistakes Made by a Previous Generation, 2017100 Planted Saviors of the Heritage, 2015Located Fragments, 2016

Measured and Weighed, 2015


It’s impossible to overstate the significance of forests for Finland, both historically and economically. 71.6 percent of the total area of the country is covered by forests – that’s over 26 million hectares. I own 100 hectares. “100 Hectares of Understanding” is my attempt to understand the forest area I inherited in 1997. Recent explorations in the forest, and in the world of forestry have managed to provoke my interest towards unfamiliar property of mine.

I study what nature has to offer to urbanized people and I will try to create new ways of thinking and ways to experience and feel the forest. I capture nature through my lens before applying the alchemical process that makes art out of the familiar. I arbitrarily mix various types of pictures with each other, and define them as part of a larger visual entity. I am working with the method of deconstruction, but rather than creating physical work out of the results of my private rituals in the forest, I unveil the result through the medium of photography. For the unknown to become familiar requires both physical and delicate acts: to nurture and to tame, to master and to yield. My photographs are testimonial, traces of my aspirations towards understanding and awareness. Photography, for me, is a gateway to the very core of my thoughts and imagination.


Jaakko Kahilaniemi (b. 1989, Toijala) is a visual artist and photographer living and working in Helsinki, Finland. Kahilaniemi holds an BA in photography from Turku Arts Academy, Finland and he is currently finishing his MA in photography at Aalto University of Arts and Design, Helsinki Finland (graduating spring 2018). Kahilaniemi received Majaoja Foundation’s grand prize, MajaojaPrize/Backlight’17 in Backlight Photo Festival 2017. His recent work 100 Hectares of Understanding is his attempt to understand the forest he inherited 1997. His work has been exhibited in a solo exhibition 100 Hectares of Understanding, The Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki Finland, 2016 and in various groupshows all over the Europe like in 2017 like in Berlin, Budabest, Wolkersdorf, Ljubljana, Copenhagen, Zagreb, Vienna, Groningen, Riga, Tampere and Oulu. His work has been shown also at international art fairs in Vienna, Paris, London and Torino. In 2018 Kahilaniemi was selected as one of the 10 finalist in Festival de Hyéres and in Grand Prix Fotofestiwal in Lödz. His work will be also seen in Guernsey Photo Festival. Kahilaniemi’s work has been published in many European magazines and platforms and in various catalogues.



Kayla Maiuri is the associate editor of EuropeNow and the editorial and publications associate at the Council for European Studies. She holds an MFA in fiction from Columbia University, where she served as fiction editor of Columbia: A Journal of Literature & Art. She is currently working on her first novel.


Published on April 17, 2018.


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