Arto Timonen

My mother calls me on the phone. It’s  early spring in 2016. Her mother, my grandmother, my child’s great grandmother, has died. My daughter, who is only a few days old, is crying on my shoulder.

I do not have the time to think about sleep, or anything else for that matter. We drive through the evening and early night with my brother to get to the funeral service in Sievi, a 6 hour drive from Helsinki. A white hare dies on the way, accidentally ran over by our car.

My grandmother had a lot of friends, she did not die lonely. However, many of her peers were already up there in the clouds to welcome her. On our way back from the funeral, I think about the discussions I had with her; we talked about music, the war, and how i the war destroyed her chance to study in Vyborg. The war also took away both of her brothers and her fiancé. Through these great losses she eventually met her future husband, my grandfather, who died ten years ago. He was 98 years old when he died, just like my grandmother.

Back in Helsinki, my spouse Nina and our three week old baby are at home welcoming me.

Our little baby girl is in the focus of my photographic series. At the moment my life revolves around her. Nina and her kids from her previous relationship are also naturally the main characters of this series, as are our parents, who have been a tremendous help. My friend Matias is also there in my pictures. I met him in 2010, during another project dealing with homelessness.

These images show what my life was like in the year 2016: the spring – soon gone –, summer, then the fall. It is December 2016 now, and looking back at the photographs, I can see how my daughter has become a person of her own; a small human being who can wave at her own shadow.

A Japanese song comes to my mind, the first one in a collection of 99 haikus: “ A summer flower that borns, becomes cold in the winter. Now it is spring again and the flower is born anew. “