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New special exhibition is charming the visitors

Inside the exhibition the atmosphere is mysterious

Photographs by Nordic women show the charm of nearby nature in the North

A nature photography exhibition by 60 Nordic women opens in June at the Finnish Nature Centre Haltia. The exhibition includes one work by each of the 20 Finnish, Swedish, and Norwegian photographers. The exhibition proves that brilliant nature photographs can be taken close to home, not just in iconic destinations, such as national parks, and that amateur photographers can do just as good a job as professionals.

The idea for the Sixty Chicks and Wild Pics exhibition originated in Finland, at BioFoto Finland, an association for nature photographers. The association also operates in Norway and Sweden, and the local women involved eagerly seized the opportunity to organise the first Nordic nature photography exhibition on this scale.

Sixty Chicks shatters stereotypes

The Sixty Chicks and Wild Pics exhibition breaks down various stereotypes attached to nature photography. Most of the exhibition’s sixty women are nature photography enthusiasts, but there are also some professional photographers amongst them. Their occupations vary from researchers and hairdressers to teachers and wilderness guides, and some of them have been taking photographs almost all their lives. The stereotype of the nature photographer as a bearded, hunter-like male is also laid to rest.

“Nature photography has traditionally been a field dominated by men, and they have had time to take pictures and network for much longer than women. That is why it’s so wonderful that we managed to encourage such a group of talented women to display their nature photographs. It is extremely important to network and believe in what you do,” says Heidi Holmlund of BioFoto Finland, the woman behind the idea and one of the Finnish photographers in the exhibition.

Not only have men established themselves in nature photography, they have also had time to extend their photographic scope to encompass far-flung destinations. The exhibition points out, however, that you don’t have to go far to get brilliant nature photographs; instead, they can be taken nearby, in places where the photographer’s everyday life takes them.

“Nearby nature is as valuable a subject for picture taking as some more exotic locations. The exhibition’s photographs refute the idea that you need to spend thousands of hours in a wilderness hide and know the deepest secrets of digital photography before you can call yourself a nature photographer,” says Petri Ryöppy, Exhibition Manager at Haltia.

Documenting nature at risk, providing a glimmer of hope

Each country used a different method to select the photographers for the exhibition. Biofoto Norway has roughly a thousand members, so the participants were selected by drawing lots. In Sweden, the first twenty people who signed up were accepted. BioFoto Finland is the smallest of these associations, and people needed some nudging and encouragement to sign up. There was no reason to be timid as the pictures are of top quality.

Each photographer selected one of their pictures for the exhibition. The only criterion was that it should depict the natural world in the photographer’s home country. It was a difficult task for many of them to select just one out of thousands of pictures.

“It certainly wasn’t easy to choose the picture. In the end I selected a photograph that conveyed a message of hope in the midst of darkness. I’m proud that I can be part of this unique Nordic exhibition,” says Lotta Lund, one of the Swedish photographers in the exhibition.

“I think it is important to document the diversity of today’s natural world, both for our own generation and future ones. I can achieve this through nature photography, and at the same time, I can raise people’s awareness of the threats facing the natural world. I hope that the exhibition also inspires people to explore the great outdoors, as people who learn to love the natural world also look after it. These were the criteria for selecting my photograph Forest Engineer for the exhibition,” says Anne-Lise Stangenes, teacher and amateur photographer from Norway.

Moods and destinations from forests to fjords

The exhibition focuses on Nordic nearby nature with its differences and similarities, capturing the natural world on the same latitudes from sixty different perspectives – from Finnish forests to Norwegian fjords. One of the emerging themes is the relationship of Nordic women with the natural environment.

The tone of the photographs varies from funny to harmonious and artistic. They include both black-and-white and colour photographs, both familiar and new aspects of Nordic nature. The picture frames are made from planks taken from an old Finnish barn. They give the exhibition a strong look and emphasise the theme of recycling.

Haltia brings the exhibition to the public for the first time

The Sixty Chicks and Wild Pics exhibition was on display in the spring of 2016 at nature photography festivals in Norway and Sweden and received excellent feedback. The Finnish Nature Centre Haltia is the first venue to display the exhibition in a proper exhibition space for a longer period of time and make it available to the public at large. Special attention has been paid to hanging and lighting. The photographs are not displayed by country but grouped according to similar themes or perspectives, for example. 

The exhibition continues until early 2017.