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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Photography Show in the Embassy of Finland Is a Can't Miss Exhibit!


I saw the most spectacular exhibit yesterday enhanced by a private tour from the artist.  Fortunately, she will be back on Nov. 11-12 to talk more about it. The Loveliest Girl in the World at the Embassy of Finland is the name of the exhibit and should not be missed! It will be showing Friday - Sunday from 11 am to 4pm through Nov. 13. About 10 years ago, the photographer, Miina Savolainen, took notice of a home for abandoned children. She decided to begin a project with all 10 young girls in one of the units of the home, to try to make them feel special. She started getting to know the girls and then taking them - one by one - on field trips into the incredibly beautiful Finnish countryside. Once there, they would put on some beautifully elaborate dresses and gowns that the girls and Miina worked on getting ready. The idea was for the girls to dictate how they wanted to look.  (This is actually part of a course that Miina teaches in Finland for businessmen, doctors, health professionals, etc., that she calls empowering photography.)  Then she would shoot the pictures.  This went on for years so she could photograph them in various stages of childhood. So what we get now are sublime photos of these girls often looking like models and movie stars, with landscapes that Hollywood would pay millions to re-create (craters, icicles, snow-covered plains, endless bounding brooks, mountaintops, etc.). And they look so confident and comfortable.  What's amazing about Miina's work is that in a group photo of the girls where they're smiling and normally dressed, they look just like any other group of teenage girls. Then in these photos, their specialness shines through. "Everyone can be special if you're looked at in a lovely way," Miina told me. The exhibit has won awards throughout Finland.  She said she would send me some photos that I could post - I've posted a couple. But you need to see these in person, if possible. There are over 120 of them in the exhibit, and in the great Embassy of Finland space - surrounded by the woods - it is a privilege to be there.  I will check if Miina will be doing anything specific - like a lecture - when she returns in November.

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