30x stories about us

Personal Art project – photography, book, exhibition


I interviewed 30 women around the age of thirty and asked how they were doing for real. The texts they wrote are published in the book 30x – Stories About Us / 30x –Tarinoita meistä (published in 2012). The texts are written based on questions about difficulties in life and how to survive them. I learned, that by listening only thirty people I started to hear the problems of not only of a generation but a society. There are strong themes that start to repeat – such as depression, loneliness, heartbreaks, lack of money, big life-changing decisions, health problems or the lost of a family member. We all say we’re doing fine when someone asks, but the truth usually is totally different.

30x Portrait photography

With a large format camera on a black and white film

30x – Stories about us

Personal art project

30x – Stories About Us is a dark and deep personal project about fragility, bravery, fear and honesty. I let myself to do something that doesn't try to make anyone feel cheerful. But what it can give to you, is a feeling, that we’re not here alone experiencing things. And that sometimes it’s OK to speak out loud. Or speak in silence. Many things that people feel and say and how they look are captured – temporarily – in phones and social media. With this project I made an old fashion approach and captured my peers and their portraits and feelings in a book form. That’s how our grandparents use to keep their few valuable photos and the next generation could look at them later. I captured the photos with a large format camera on a sheet film. That way, the whole photography process had a different feeling, because only few photos were taken – sometimes only one. 30X allows to understand, co-experience and share difficult experiences – in this case from the point of view of women around the age of 30. But in the end of the day, the project is not about the age, it's about growth and transformation, something that we all have to go through in different phases. It allowed women to take their mask off and show how they really felt inside. When I started this project, I felt very broken, because I had lost a person close to me. I had to grow up in one night. Surprisingly, when I asked how my peers were doing, I realised that we were all in the same boat. Almost all were dealing with big issues. There can be a big paradox in how we feel and what we show. How to get closer to a person? What is OK to say and to feel? What is OK to show? Should we show what we want or what we actually are? Can a fragility turn into strength? There is a wall that we build in front of us, just to feel safe and untouchable. But when we start to share the difficult experiences, they don’t feel so bad anymore. They become part of the growth, part of life and therefore easier to accept.

  • 30 Black and white portraits

  • 30 texts by 30 women based on an interview

  • Exhibition / Installation in Helsinki, 2012

  • Book

  • Website

  • Part of the Photobookshow C, Create Studios, Brighton, UK, 2012 / photobookshow.co.uk

  • Motto Distribution took the book for sale in Berlin