Honorable mention for Ivan Timiriasew book in Iittala’s national art book competition
The best art books of 2021 were awarded at the Hämeenlinna main library on 11 June 2022. The book Ivan Timiriasew – helsinkiläinen valokuvaaja, published by the Helsinki City Museum and Parvus Publishing Company, received an honorable mention. “The opus is addictive, easy to browse and the black & white print looks beautiful”, the jury says.
Photographer Niclas Warius‘ Vanitas won the first prize and was given the Eliel Aspelin Prize of 2021. In addition to the winning art book, three works received honorable mentions: Kirjailija kuvassa – WSOY:n Kirjallisuussäätiön taidekokoelma (WSOY), ITE Satakunnassa (Maaseudun Sivistysliitto) and Ivan Timiriasew – helsinkiläinen valokuvaaja (Helsingin kaupunginmuseo). The Iittala national art book competition prize committee consisted of journalist/author Marika Riikonen, writer/visual artist Kirsi Rajapuro and photographer Joseph Tully.
Here’s how Kirsi Rajapuro describes the book Ivan Timiriasew – helsinkiläinen valokuvaaja:
“A beautiful photograph book written by historians Iisa Aaltonen and Elina Maaniitty immediately captured my attention among other art books. It transported me over one hundred years back in time to a cosmopolitan Helsinki, but I was still able to recognise the city’s landmarks in the images. We have a picnic on Seurasaari and follow Russian prisoners of war and barefooted small children in Helsinki from ports to the gardens of wooden houses.
Ivan Timiriasew’s photographs of early 20th century Helsinki are famous. We now have a work that describes him as a person. Timiriasew was possibly the most hard-working photographer for picture magazines in his time and an avid camera club member and competition participant, who lived more than half of his life in Finland. His role as a trusted military official provided him access to many situations that were beyond the reach of other photographers.
He was part of the high society in Helsinki and a well-known and beloved figure out on the town. He was also part of the history of Russians in Finland. The book provides a comprehensive look at the background for his photographs and weighs the impact of Timiriasew’s role and status as an intermediary between Finns and Russians – being a foreigner, he was perhaps able to view Helsinki more astutely than locals.
“The captivating work, published by Helsinki City Museum and Parvs Publishing Ltd, is easy to flick through and the black and white printing looks delicious. The colours of the old photographs have been harmonised for the book, which we have Harri Tahvanainen to thank for, because he carried out the demanding image processing work. The strong look of the book was created by graphic artist Maria Appelberg.
The work is meticulously referenced; it contains a timeline of Timiriasew’s life and a vast list of sources complete with an index of persons. It will, no doubt, become a part of research into the history of photography in Finland, but it does provide a glimpse into the everyday life and festivities of Helsinki for ordinary people – it is especially topical right now, as it depicts human suffering brought on by war and extraordinary circumstances.”