Photographer Soili Mustapää took photographs of her Facebook friends at different locations around Helsinki, exploring the dimensions of the portrait on social media. Mustapää wanted to find out what else a profile picture could be besides a mirror selfie shot with a mobile phone, a picture from an old photo album showing a middle-aged person longing after his or her youth, or perhaps a cartoonish image of a superhero. Could the methods of traditional portrait photography make a contribution in this area, or would it be possible to discover something entirely new?
The premise for the photo shoots was the confidential relationship between the photographer and the subject. At its best, the Helsinki Facelift project was empowering photography that strengthened the subjects’ self-awareness. Profile pictures are a kind of social calling card that communicate aspects of the person’s overall identity.
Soili Mustapää (born 1956) is a Helsinki-based media artist and photographer. Mustapää specialises in portrait and documentary photography.