January 15 – March 27, 2016
”It would be nice to wake up in the morning knowing what to do and being excited. I would like things to change, but I cannot make a change because I am not certain about anything. I have visions, but if feels like they only exists in my head. You just become so ****ing shiftless. I would like to be normal: study like normal people, go to a bar like normal people, have hobbies, enjoy basic things, not turn small things into big issues. To be relaxed, not anxious or depressed. I do understand that I am standing at the crossroads. I do understand that I am already this age. But I have nothing, no education, no job. I would have to figure out which way to go. You wonder why this has always been so much simpler for everyone else. But in the end, I trust that everything will be fine and things will sort themselves out. There is no other option.”
For the exhibition Boys, photographer Kaisa Rautaheimo has photographed men in their 20s “going through a phase”: some have dropped out of education, others have never started their studies. Working life seems distant. The boys hope to find something meaningful, but they don’t know where to look for it, what to look for, and why.
The exhibition consists of 16 documentary photographs of these young men’s lives. The photographs tell stories about detachment, being an outsider, and looking for one’s place and meaning in life. They tell stories about a period in life where you don’t quite know where to go, what to do, and what to want from life.
“During the project, I often found myself thinking how small things shape us and the situations we end up in, and how even the smallest realization can help us in finding a direction. In the end, everyone is looking for the same things: love, acceptance, your own place in the world. At the same time I couldn’t help thinking what would happen if there were no supporting networks in our society.”
It the exhibition, the photographs are combined with the boys’ thoughts as texts. The texts have been edited by Ann-Mari Huhtanen. A book including the photographs and the texts is due to be released in spring 2016.
Kaisa Rautaheimo works as a press photographer for the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat. She also carries out larger documentary projects.
Ann-Mari Huhtanen is an independent writer. She has worked for Helsingin Sanomat and Ylioppilaslehti, and specializes in long-form journalism.