In her latest project photographer Wilma Hurskainen addresses foundations of feminism within the juxtaposition of contemporary photographic art vs. the tradition of family photographs. “Growth – Kasvu” explores these ideas by recreating photographs of Hurskainen and her three sisters taken by her father in their youth and placing the original alongside the recreation, taken by Hurskainen.
Changes in the scenery or landscape over the past however-many years are an easy indicator of Hurskainen’s failure at replication, as is the obvious growth of the four sisters as they overpower situations they had once been so diminutive in. On closer inspection, however, one can see a deeper appropriation of the artist’s achievement and expectant failure within the poses and characters of the four sisters themselves.
Based on the laws of nature, a moment cannot be repeated therefore a photograph cannot be recreated. Within these facts, Hurskainen’s project is bound in failure, begging us as audience to question her message. By photographing herself and her sisters in the exact same situation they were photographed in by their father twenty-something years before, does Hurskainen seek achievement through failure?
In the family pictures taken by their father, it is easy to place his message as family photographer. It sings to the tune of all fathers through time and space, his four daughters posing as the little women that they are. Neatly lined up in a row, dressed in their finest outfits, often smiling (sometimes not), the girls undoubtedly know how to dress in their best poses, delivering for their father, all-knowing patriarch, the message he so desires of his subjects.
There are, of course, instances of grumpy frowns or gazes away from the lens, failures of father to capture his message due to the sometimes rebellious or distractible personalities of his young daughters, failures of little girls to be father’s “little women.”
This, perhaps, is the intention behind Hurskainen’s message as artist. She and her sisters cannot be the subjects that they were twenty years ago. They are incapable of it, it is impossible. The personalities of their girlhood have grown and changed and shifted into the personalities that they have worked so hard to achieve today. They may be able to replicate the pose of a girl they once were, but they’re women now.
All photos courtesy of Wilma Hurskainen.