Photos of the Student Union KY’s celebrations sold like hot cakes

Esko Antikainen photographed almost all of KY’s celebrations and other university events for a three-year period in the late 1950s.
Kauppakorkeakoulun mursujaiset 1958, kuva: Esko Antikainen
School of Business mursujaiset in 1958. Photo: Esko Antikainen

Many School of Business alumni have interesting and inspiring memories of their years as students in Kauppis. We are eager to hear from and share them on the School's website and social media channels. #kauppis110


Esko Antikainen, born in Iisalmi, began his studies at the Helsinki School of Economics in 1956. Prior to the university studies, Antikainen had graduated from the Upper Secondary School of Iisalmi and completed his military service and reserve officer training.

‘It was natural for me to apply to the Helsinki School of Economics. When I was a young boy, I ordered a pack of Christmas cards based on a newspaper notification and sold them for a small profit. At upper secondary school celebrations, I sold sweets for a price a little bit higher than I had paid for them. Business was in my blood.’

Antikainen started practising photography during his upper secondary school studies in 1953. At first, he photographed using his father’s old bellows camera.

‘At the time I was in Helsinki School of Economics, I bought a Yashica 66 camera and a large flash and started to photograph Student Union KY events. At some point, I chaired the KY Camera Club for a year. The Camera Club auctioned the photography rights to all KY celebrations from the anniversary to Lakinlaskijaiset, that is, the “Caps Off” party. The highest bidder was granted the photography rights, and they paid the sum to the club. The money was spent on better equipment for the School of Economics photography lab.’

For nearly three years, photographers other than Antikainen were barely seen at KY events. ‘When other students danced and went steady, I worked. I sold party photos to my fellow students, and business boomed. I spent many spools of film in every event.’

‘I practically lived in the laboratory as it took time to develop the films and photographs. After the parties, I hung prints of the pictures on the hall notice board. Everyone could then place an order in the order list. Numbered lockers came in handy. I developed the films and photos and delivered them along with a bill through the openings in the lockers. The buyers, in turn, dropped the money in the same envelope through the opening in my locker. It was an excellent system. That way I could fund my studies and change the old Yashica to a better Rolleicord camera.’

35 mm film started to gain ground during Antikainen’s studies. ‘My best study mate claimed that the 35 mm film would replace the 6x6 film. I didn’t believe it, and we waged a bet on whether photographers would adopt the 35 mm universally. The loser would have to buy a dinner to the winner’s family. Well, I lost the bet.’

Of the teachers in the Helsinki School of Economics, Antikainen remembers best the highly qualified lecturers of German language. Hannu Teräs, Carl-August von Willebrand and the excellent Lecturer of English Irma Rantavaara.

Kauppakorkeakoulun lakinlaskijaiset 1958. Kuva: Esko Antikainen
School of Business lakinlaskijaiset (the “Caps Off” party) in 1958. Photo: Esko Antikainen

Work beckons but photography continues

Esko Antikainen graduated in January 1960, after which photography became all the more important to him.

‘I was selected for the degree programme of a Finnish subsidiary of the German company Braun. The training organised in Germany was supposed to take three years and prepare me for the duties of deputy director. However, three years decreased to 1.5 as I was needed in Finland earlier than planned. The degree programme included three-month studies at a photography school in Kiel. The most distant students to participate in the high-level training came from Chile and South Africa. During my years in Germany, I bought a third 6x6 film camera: Rolleiflex, which was an even better Rollei model. In addition, I have at least five 35 mm film cameras in the cabinet over there.’ 

Over the course of his career, Antikainen worked at Braun for 16 years, Bang & Olufsen for 11 years, and finally at his own import company Effekta Oy. 

Caravanning close to heart

Esko and his wife Pirjo-Liisa are enthusiastic caravanners with an experience of 24 years. ‘We have travelled in many European countries. Nevertheless, the most wonderful destination was New Zealand where we travelled with a rented motor home. We tread our own paths, and France is our number one destination. I’ve also written stories in the Caravan magazine. I hope that my stories and the photos accompanying them help other caravanners find something new, such as fascinating attractions and nature destinations.’

In addition to the Caravan magazine, Antikainen’s stories and photographs have been published in the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper. ‘The Sunday paper on 8 November 2009 featured a full-page article on the fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years earlier (9 November 1989), and all the photos were taken by me.’

The Helsinki School of Economics, or the current School of Business, has remained a part of Antikainen’s life through class meetings in which he still participates. 

‘The most famous person in my class was the now deceased Jaakko Salonoja, who worked as a radio host and manager of the Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle’s Radio 1 entertainment programmes. Class meetings have offered a pleasant way to keep in touch with my study mates.’

Interview and text: Terhi Ollikainen and Susanna Rosin

Kauppakorkeakoulun kirjeenvaihtajakurssi 1956. Kuva: Esko Antikainen
Class of correspondents of the School of Business (kirjeenvaihtajakurssi) in 1956. Photo: Esko Antikainen
Konserttitanssiaiset 1958. Kuva: Esko Antikainen
Concert ball in 1958. Photo: Esko Antikainen
KY-viikko 1958. Kuva: Esko Antikainen
KY week in 1958. Photo: Esko Antikainen
Kauppakorkeakoulun vuosikurssin 1956 tapaaminen syyskuussa 2016
Alumni get-together of Class of 1956 in September 2016. Esko Antikainen on the right side, Jaakko Salonoja next to him.
Kauppakorkeakoulun alumni Esko Antikainen 9.11.2021
School of Business alumnus Esko Antikainen on 9 November 2021. Photo: Aalto University / Susanna Rosin

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