News

Prize-winning photographer Maija Tammi looks for new ways to depict sickness in photographic art

Doctoral thesis ”Sick Photography. Representations of Sickness in Art Photography” is examined 12th December.
'Unlimited Number of Cell Divisions' (2014), a work by Maija Tammi, consists of used radiotherapy masks. Photo: Marc Goodwin.

'I am interested in subjects and areas where looking at a photograph approaches its limits. Depicting sickness in art involves ethical questions about what kinds of pictures may or may not be shown. The disgust or revulsion that may be sparked by the pictures raise the question about why some pictures are so difficult to look at. Both questions reveal what we are like an how we would like the world to be', says photographer Maija Tammi (Master of Social Sciences) about the topic of her doctoral research.

Tammi's research indicates that most previous photographic works depicting sickness focus on the experience of being sick. With her own work Tammi searches for new ways of dealing with sickness. Tammi's artistic research gave rise to two separate work ensembles: Leftover (2014) and White Rabbit Fever (2016). 

Leftover consists of photographs depicting used radiotherapy masks, and a piece of sculpture consisting of 170 radiotherapy masks.  'As a whole the work seeks to deal with illness from outside the patient's experience, on a general level, and to guide attention to the statistical prevalence of cancer and its cultural construction', Tammi says.

White Rabbit Fever presents two timelines: a sequence of a decomposing hare and sequences of the endless growth of biologically immortal lines of cancer cells. 'The work deals with the idea of illness and seeks to indicate the vacillating nature of the boundaries between life and death', Tammi explains.

Each of the two works include both a wider exhibition and a book: (Leftover/Removals, Kehrer Verlag, 2014, and White Rabbit Fever, Bromide Books, 2017).

An installation connected with the wider work White Rabbit Fever is at the Galleria Lapinlahti. Photo: Miikka Pirinen.

Examining the definitions of life and death got Tammi to look at areas which gave rise to a portrait, ”One of Them Is a Human #1”, which was awarded in the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize competition. The work depicts the android Erica developed at Osaka University. 

'In my latest work I have focused on biological immortality, clones, and the definitions of life. Among other things, I have photographed hydras, which are small immortal aquatic animals. In addition I produced the work "One of Them is a Human", which deals with questions of being alive and being human', Tammi says.

Buy the book from the Aalto shop.

More information:

Maija Tammi; maija (ät) maijatammi.com

  • Published:
  • Updated:
Share
URL copied!

Read more news

Jose Lado, photo: Evelin Kask
Research & Art Published:

Early career award granted to Professor Jose Lado

Professor Jose Lado was awarded early career prize. The award recognizes the talents of exceptional young researchers who are making a significant contribution to their respective field of research. The runner-up prize was awarded to Prof. Lado by Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft and Institute of Physics through New Journal of Physics (NJP).
Designs for a Cooler Planet 2022 – Open call
Research & Art Published:

What's Life 1.5 like? – Apply now for Designs for a Cooler Planet 2022 to showcase a sustainable future

The climate crisis and biodiversity loss call for radical new ideas. How does your work contribute to wiser consumption, climate solutions or a more sustainable working life? Designs for a Cooler Planet 2022 will present Aalto's most interesting projects to support sustainability – apply now!
Pro arte utili_kirjan kansi_kirjoittajat_kuva_Annukka Mäkijärvi
Cooperation, Research & Art, University Published:

From the margins to the top: How the School of Arts, Design and Architecture rose to the international forefront

New book Pro Arte Utili tells about leadership and vision guiding the change.
No entry sign over workshop image
Campus, Research & Art, Studies Published:

Special opening hours at Arts infra workshops and Väre Takeout

Special opening hours and exceptions at Arts infra workshops and Väre Takeout.