Milja Laurila (b. 1982) graduated with an MA in Photography from the Aalto University in Helsinki in 2010. Throughout her career, she has used old photographs as material for her works. In her debut To Rememer, at Photographic Gallery Hippolyte in 2007, Laurila utilised pictures from her own childhood family album. Later she has focused on images found in old encyclopedias and medical books. She is particularly interested in the relationship between words and photographs and the decontextualisation of archival images.
The title of my series is taken from a 1930’s fact book on women. An influential text in sexual science of its time, it is illustrated with hundreds of photographs of naked women and children from all over the world. I have kept the captions as such but replaced the original images with ones I have found in my personal archive. The result is a play between word and image, fact and fiction, provoking questions regarding colonialist practices, research ethics, the role of women in science and photography’s relation to words. The project is in progress, with approx. 100 images. As well as exhibiting the works, I am making a book – a new version of the 20th century feminine encyclopedia.