Tekla Inari: Ida Uphill
Photographs: Tekla Inari
Graphic design: Jaakko Suomalainen
Texts: Tekla Inari
Translations: Kasper Salonen
Language: Finnish, English
Retouching and scanning: Petri Kuokka, Aarnipaja, Helsinki
Released: October 2022
Printing: Jelgavas Tipografija, Latvia
Dimensions: 21 x 3 x 15 cm (P x K x L)
Location: Photographic Gallery Hippolyte (Yrjönkatu 8-10, 00120 Helsinki)
“Ida Uphill” is Tekla Inari’s third photographic work in a book form. It elaborates the same crucial themes as the author’s two previous books, “Legacy (Musta taide 2015) and “Blue Years” (Kosmos 2017). In particular, Helsinki scenery and a viewpoint of the “creative precariat” (to which “Ida Uphill” is also dedicated) form common ground. The relationship and juxtapositioning of text and images is close-knit and intense. Writing has a central place in Inari’s book; she is a rare example of an artist who masters two mediums.
Psychological sensitivity, bleak social realism, and a strong effort not to filter or embellish reality in any soothing way are Tekla Inari’s recurrent “trademarks”.
The present work is, however, almost epic in its dimensions: the book, designed by the author in collaboration with Jaakko Suomalainen, has over 400 unnumbered pages. Additionally, the narrative strategy is prominently fictive: you can actually read “Ida Uphill” like a novel. Texts and images form a complex collage that gives a detailed, thorough and unfiltered view into the world of a young woman in Helsinki, her thoughts and feelings, dreams, and everyday routine. Inari herself describes her work as a “documentary fiction”.
Ida Uphill is the book’s protagonist, whose experience of poverty, ailing mental health, capitalism and power, but also beauty, yearning, dreams and art are mapped sympathetically, without any intellectual or emotional distancing. The reader will not see Ida’s face. In the book, not many people at all are shown. All we are left is a comprehensive literary and visual study of Ida’s lonely and pressured world.
The book has an English parallel text, translated by Kasper Salonen.