City Spaces

The photographings were started in July 2003 in Helsinki and went on until September 2004.

City Spaces is a continuation of my earlier projects, and a part of a larger whole I have worked with since 1999, consisting of:
Tango & 13 Third Street
MA-work from 2000, a birds’ eye view documentation of my own home
Random Homes
birds’ eye view photographs of a total of 30 randomly chosen homes in Gothenburg, for which I received a grant from the Hasselblad Foundation in 2001
Forest Room
"rooms in the forest", photographed from birds’ eye view in both Finland and Sweden during 2001-2002 and financed with a grant from The Cultural Foundation of Finland

The aim with City Spaces is to study urban structures and their ”spatial sequences”. Spatial sequences are made up of the spaces between buildings and structures. The spaces, streets, and open squares among the buildings – the urban living rooms – are not without meaning; in fact, they are the focal point of urban architecture. People gather and meet in market places and open squares: they hear the latest news and gossip, get the feel of the atmosphere, and catch the scents lingering in the air.

The routes and open squares that are used daily are also remembered best. There are several characteristics that help us in our perception of such spaces: their functional properties and distinctive features, their hierarchies, continuity, direction, sequencing, and the way in which major intersections have been built.

As far as orientation to one’s surroundings is concerned, the various landmarks are a big help. Obviously, another help for people who move about in the urban environment is the urban structure itself, which is made up of streets that widen out occasionally and houses that were built in previous decades and centuries.

The idea behind City Spaces is to approach the subject in a way that is characteristic to my work, in other words by means of traditional photographs taken from an unusual angle, birds’ eye perspective. The photographs will be taken in Gothenburg and Helsinki with a large format camera from a sky-lift at a height of 22-25 meters. The four seasons, different times of the day as well as downtown areas and suburbs will be documented.

The project is financed with a grant from The Cultural Foundation of Finland 2003 and from KvinnorKan Foundation 2003.

© Sarianna Metsähuone 2003