The Helsinki School represents far more than a selected group of photographers from Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture. It has been the model for a new approach to education as well as a vehicle for collaborative thought and cooperation. Even more, it is a shared vision that began as an experiment in the early nineteen-nineties and eventually evolved into one of the more recognizable teaching programs in the world.

Designed in part by myself, Jorma Puranen, and the then acting director of the school Yrjö Sotamaa, the program sought from the beginning to initiate and advance new career opportunities that were virtually nonexistent at the time for graduating MA photography students. Finland had just emerged from the devastating recession of the early nineteen-nineties and thus found itself in a moment of economic and cultural stagnation. The cultural climate for galleries was provincial and lacked international standards by which to measure itself.