THE SHOOTING PROCESS
Young people who have grown up in a Children’s Home have always had
difficult experiences and rejection in the childhood. Although their
parents’ problems are the reason why children are taken into care,
children may feel responsible for events, that they are ‘bad children’.
Miina Savolainen began photographing the girls while working in a
Children’s Home in 1998 to prove and to show them their uniqueness.
Taking the photos got a special meaning. In the intimacy of the
situation the models got the photographer’s accepting gaze. In an
empowering and equal photo session one can drift further from the
everyday situations and start to look and listen inside oneself. How is
she doing at the moment and how has the story of her life shaped her.
Hundreds of pictures taken over several years give the girls an
opportunity to see new things about themselves and the sensation of
growing up. They could learn to look at themselves more sympathetically
and with love. Through the photos they’ve also got a lot of important
feedback from both people they know and people they haven't met before.
The most beloved photographs corresponded to the image how the girls
deep inside wanted to see themselves. Fairytale-like photographs
brought visible things that couldn’t be seen in the girls’ everyday
“role”. The photo-shoots were organised by the girls and Savolainen
together. The girls planned the location for the shooting as well as
about the season and about the wardrobe they would wear with the
photographer. These photographic trips often took months to plan and
organise, but once the girls got to pose for the camera deep in a
blossoming forest or in a blinding snowstorm they got to experience
themselves a bit more special than their everyday selves.
The project being shown to the public has given the girls a sensation
of public acceptance. The children living in a Children’s Home often
have to face prejudice. The opportunity to focus on one’s “self” by
building a “recovering” self portrait has created a strong feeling of
community. The girls have had to think about not only their own cases
as child welfare “clients” but also about being a girl in general. What
are their images of their selves and how does the way the media
portrait women and the cultural espectations affect the young women’s
perception of themselves.