As Anyone Else (Siinä Missä Kaikki)
A photo documentary about the Tornio region school students 1999–2004
I worked during 1999–2004 together with the children and youth from Tornio region school in Tornio, Finland. During this project we created together both exhibitions and workshops with the children. Our tool of expression was the photograph, in many of its forms. I used mostly black-and-white film and SLR and medium format cameras, the Hasselblad. The students used the Polaroid 600-camera and pocket cameras. We were explorers by using photography as our way of getting to know each other and the world around us, the everyday of their school days.
In my view, anyone can learn to photograph. The most interesting challenge and task for me was to try raise an awareness in the children and youth, that they were the ones making the photograph – to "see" the connection between seeing through the viewfinder and the action in pushing the release. That the selection of the moment of the photograph was their choice. Many times it was a burst of shots, an action photography, but also for some of the students, a careful consideration of the moment when everything in their viewfinder falls in its place and it is made through their choice (hence the choice of the instant film of Polaroid). For me it was both learning to interact and to be with children who were categorized as disabled, "special". I realized during these years together with them, that "disabled" is a medical term, a category, that entraps people in a world that is separate, and different, from someone or something that is categorized as "able". Able of what? Taking part in a world that has beeing created for people who are "able"? Are using words and logic the only ways to communicate? After this experience I would state that it is not.