tuula närhinen


In March 2003, I had the opportunity of working as Artist-in-Residence for the Finnish Foundation for the Visual Arts in N.Y.C. With my home-made pinhole camera, I photographed street views in Manhattan using exposure times of 5-10 minutes.

The New York of my pictures bears resemblance to Atget's Paris - a silent and deserted necropolis with its streets wiped clean of people as if in the aftermath of a catastrophe. In reality, however, the photos were taken during early morning rush hours in the middle of animated bustle. The atmosphere of the pictures could not be more different from that of busy traffic: long exposure makes the scenes part of a surreal, timeless world, showing New York dormant like the Sleeping Beauty in a non-existent moment. The soft pinhole focus adds to the dreamlike character of the photos.

Since 9/11, fear of terrorism has become part of life in big cities all over the world turning public places into potential scenes of danger. Anything can happen, anytime. In New York, the concept of time in photography - "the decisive moment" combined with the unreal timelessness - was given new meaning.

75 x 145 cm c-prints from pinhole negatives. Negative size 4x5" See more images of the project:

  • Herald Sq.
  • Times Sq.
  • Park Av.
  • Chinatown
  • Wall Str.
  • Exhibition 'I am not alone here - Four Directions in Finnish Photography', Gallery Hippolyte, Helsinki (2006)
    3/17/03 8:50 AM WTC 5 min exposure. C-print (75 x 145 cm) from pinhole negative
    3/20/03 6:45 PM CNN broadcast, 20 min exposure. C-print (45 x 30cm) from pinhole negative