portraits of the dead

Analog portrait of my friend Cécile / 


“100 years of my family history” is a self-portrait series that follows my mother’s side of my family during 1900s Finland. Each photograph represents each decade starting from 1900s and ending with 1990s. 

I’ve been interested in my family history for a long time and I was happy to get a chance to shoot a series of it finally since this was part of my application to kabk. All the outfits and objects are from my family history and have been passed down from generation to another.


The Ancient faces of the Fayum mummy portraits


Mummy portraits or Fayum mummy portraits (also Faiyum mummy portraits) is the modern term given to a type of naturalistic painted portrait on wooden boards attached to Egyptian mummies from the Coptic period. They belong to the tradition of panel painting, one of the most highly regarded forms of art in the Classical world. In fact, the Fayum portraits are the only large body of art from that tradition to have survived.

 Mummy portraits have been found across Egypt, but are most common in the Faiyum Basin, particularly from Hawara in the Fayum Basin (hence the common name) and the Hadrianic Roman city Antinoopolis. “Faiyum Portraits” is generally thought of as a stylistic, rather than a geographic, description. While painted cartonnage mummy cases date back to pharaonic times, the Faiyum mummy portraits were an innovation dating to the Coptic period at the time of the Roman occupation of Egypt.

 They date to the Roman period, from the late 1st century BC or the early 1st century AD onwards. It is not clear when their production ended, but recent research suggests the middle of the 3rd century. They are among the largest groups among the very few survivors of the highly prestigious panel painting tradition of the classical world, which was continued into Byzantine and Western traditions in the post-classical world, including the local tradition of Coptic iconography in Egypt.

 The portraits covered the faces of bodies that were mummified for burial. Extant examples indicate that they were mounted into the bands of cloth that were used to wrap the bodies. Almost all have now been detached from the mummies. They usually depict a single person, showing the head, or head and upper chest, viewed frontally. In terms of artistic tradition, the images clearly derive more from Graeco-Roman traditions than Egyptian ones.

 Two groups of portraits can be distinguished by technique: one of encaustic (wax) paintings, the other in tempera. The former are usually of higher quality. About 900 mummy portraits are known at present. The majority were found in the necropoleis of Faiyum. Due to the hot dry Egyptian climate, the paintings are frequently very well preserved, often retaining their brilliant colours seemingly unfaded by time.

Personally I`ve seen some at the Museum and was stunned and hypnotized by the ancient 2000 year-old faces looking at me as if they were there with me.

Girl with Alopecia by Lumi Tuomi

“Girl with Alopecia” is a self-portrait reinterpretation of the famous painting “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Johannes Vermeer. “Girl with a Pearl Earring”, said to be the “Mona Lisa” of the north, is deemed as one of the most beautiful paintings. The beautiful pale girl with her light facial features almost blending in with her skin.

It’s almost as the girl in the painting has no eyebrows, no eyelashes and no visible hair due to her turban. To me, as a woman suffering from alopecia and as a woman with no eyebrows, barely no eyelashes or hair, this painting is a celebration. The girl in the painting is a celebration of me as she has features that I consider my weaknesses - yet still the painting is one of the most beautiful paintings in the world. As a human, I look for myself in everything - and I found myself, with all of my faults, in “Girl with a Pearl Earring”.