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one warm sunny autumn day around ten years ago, my sister and i went out to take some photos. i had my old soviet camera with me with a roll of black-and-white film in it. when we came back home i put it in the fridge… and forgot about it. it stayed cold for a good seven years. i eventually had it developed and the negatives scanned. most photos turned out blurry and some overexposed. and yet, they made me very emotional. a feeling akin to when you open a memory box from way back. a bit sad because the meadow is not there anymore, turned into a sand mine, and because we will never be able to go back into our old selves… but overwhelmingly happy about where we are today, as supportive of each other as ever. this one goes out to my sister – a hero and an inspiration.


my friends know that moominvalley is my ultimate happy place. it is where i mentally retreat in times of distress. it is also what i try to make my own immediate environment look and feel like. moomins live in a landscape that is alive. it is a character in its own right. you are never fully alone in a forest or on a tiny rocky island in the baltic sea. you may be sad or angry at times but there is always a magical chance to interact with the landscape and not let dullness take over. landscape always has in store adventure and thrill. it also offers solitude for those who seek it. it is your friend and a stranger at the same time and you need to be patient, attentive, and self-aware to make the relationship work.

these are my crude thoughts on a thesis topic. there is one moomin book that is particularly important to me: ‘moominpappa at sea’. i reread it every summer: it always manages to put me back into a child’s state of wonder about the seemingly trivial things around you and to help me re-imagine my dream world as a necessary reference in real life. what better way to write a research paper than choosing a subject that represents your own self?!

(the photographs are from an exhibition by roger gustafsson called “hommage à… trollish adventures in contemporary art” organized by the finnish-norwegian cultural institute in oslo. i was lucky enough to attend its opening in march 2012.)