Suomi

Landscape as a cultural construct is nature for the taking, to be tamed, framed and contained for human consumption.  These photographs were made during and Australia Council residency and are an extension of Haggblom's PhD research that visually documents Australian touristscapes and investigates what we - as visitors - physically and psychologically gain from touristic experiences.

"As contemporary societies would be unimaginable without the photograph,
they would be unrecognizable without tourism"

 Peter Osborne, Traveling Light: Photography, Travel and Visual Culture, 2000

Suomenlinna is located directly off central Helsinki and was once a strategic military post governed through history by Russia, Sweden and Finland and is now a UNSECO listed tourist attraction. The fortress is not simply a museum, but a living community and nowadays there are an estimated 900 permanent inhabitants on the island. There is also a minimum-security penal labor colony whose inmates work on the maintenance and reconstruction of the fortifications and naval training headquarters. When the snow begins to melt locals and tourists alike flock to Suomenlinna to picnic, attend festivals and sample the island-brewed beer. In Winter shops lay dormant and the few tourists who visit don't wander far from the ferry.  Haggblom spent three months on the island in what is believed to be the coldest winter in 60 years and produced this series of images. Although people don't figure prominently within the whitewashed landscapes, the imagery hints at human habitation and is evocative of Haggblom's isolation.

Suomi would not have been possible without the assistance and support of all the staff at Helsinki International Artist-in-Residence Program: Hanna-Mari, Vivre, Marita, Eleni, Tomasz, Anneli and Henna and artist Kalle Kataila.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory board.

Australia Council
 

 
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