Never-before-seen colour photographs of Helsinki from the 1950s to the 1970s
Helsinki City Museum will publish the ‘Helsinki Väreissä’ (Helsinki in colour) photograph book edited by Satu Savia on 28 September 2022. The visually impressive photograph book holds a selection of gems from the museum collection of authentic colour photographs from the 1950s to the 1970s. The cityscape of Helsinki past comes alive on the pages of the book thanks to the images glowing in colour.
Unprecedented images show fleeting moments in busy streets, in the courtyards of old wooden houses and in the landscapes of gleaming new suburbs. The May Day balloons, the fruit on Market Square and the night-time neon lights of the advertisements are glowing in colours in nostalgic Helsinki images. ‘Helsinki väreissä – värivalokuvia 1950–1970-luvuilta’ (Helsinki in colour – colour photographs from the 1950s to the 1970s) is a fascinating journey back in time in Helsinki – the images depict many things that have since disappeared along with a cityscape that we recognise today.
The new book holds a handpicked selection from the collection of almost one million black and white and colour photographs maintained by the Helsinki City Museum. ‘Helsinki väreissä’ is the museum’s first photographic book with all of the images curated from colour images. The time period in which the images were taken coincides with colour photography becoming commonplace, and the visual nature of the images serves as the common theme in the book, rather than the informative, historical value of the photographs.
The ‘Helsinki väreissä’ book will be published on Wednesday 28 September 2022 by the Helsinki City Museum. The book has been edited by Helsinki City Museum researcher Satu Savia. Minna Luoma is responsible for graphic design, Mari Valio for digitalisation and Kari Lahtinen for the colour separation of the images. The workgroup worked in close cooperation with each other and created thematic entities around the selected images: kaupungilla (out on the town), kohtaamisia (encounters), yksin (alone), yhdessä (together), työssä (at work), liikkeellä (on the move), muutokset (changes) and illan saapuessa (when the evening arrives).
Many of the phenomena in the photographs only live on in our memories. The activities of baby boomers when they were young, the transition to working life, increased leisure time and the time layers of the city’s building stock are present in the pictures. Even the smallest events in everyday life have not been forgotten in the photographs.
“The idea for a Helsinki-themed photographic book arose from the working group’s desire to present the city in beautiful colour images. Only a fraction of the museum’s collection of approximately one million photographs is available online, and now we can present Helsinki with breathtakingly wonderful colour images,” Satu Savia says. ”The work allows you to dive into nostalgic views and see the change in the city. Images were selected based on their visuality, high-quality and even peculiarity.”
‘Helsinki väreissä – värivalokuvia 1950–1970-luvuilta’ (Helsinki in colour – colour photographs from the 1950s to the 1970s) is available in the City Museum shop from 28 September 2022 onwards.
Helsinki väreissä – värivalokuvia 1950–1970-luvuilta
Edited by: Satu Savia
Front cover: Traffic Police control traffic on Erottaja, Jalmari Aarnio, 1961
© Helsinki City Museum and Satu Savia, 2022
Photo: Front cover: Traffic Police control traffic on Erottaja, Jalmari Aarnio, 1961.