Nº75 Milja LaurilaNú Ninja Helga Mjöll
Milja Laurila is a visual artist and a photographer born in Helsinki, Finland the year 1982. When she was just a baby her family moved to Tanzania and stayed there for three years. Despite not remembering much about her time there, she still feels a strong connection to Africa.
Laurila’s father died when she was 11 years old. He was an amateur photographer and left behind an archive of photos that had a profound effect on Laurila. For example, going through photos of herself in Africa, with people she didn’t even remember, made her curious about the link between photography and memories. An interest in historic photography was sparked.
She graduated with an MA in Photography from Aalto University in Helsinki in 2010 and works mainly with old photographs in her visual art. She has a passion for the history of medicine and for patients as the subject of photography, especially women. She takes scientific images out of context and away from what they once were proof of. That way she gives them a chance to speak for themselves.
In many cases the medical pictures are of young women that are photographed naked or partially naked, even though the malady had nothing to do with that part of the body. In some cases, the girls were blindfolded. Laurila questions the point of those photos.
Laurila continues to gaze into the history of exploiting women’s bodies and sexualising them while hiding behind the legitimacy of scientific research. In the series Untitled Women, Laurila places translucent paper over original photographs of women that were photographed naked by scientists to showcase the female physiology with an anthropological viewpoint. The photographed women are presented as exotic specimens and their body parts are scrutinized in detail. In Laurila’s art piece only the women’s eyes remain accurately visible through a rectangular hole cut in the paper.
Milja Laurila lives in Finland and showcases all over the world.
More about Milja Laurila and her artwork on her website.