Eyes as Big as Plates – Norway & Finland

Eyes as Big as Plates – New York is the third chapter in our ongoing collaborative venture that started two years ago. We did a little dig in the archive to update new followers and other curious cats on the background of Eyes as Big as Plates.

Riitta and Karoline met during an artist residency in Sandnes, Norway in May 2011, where the first part of Eyes as Big as Plates was produced in collaboration with local senior heroes, sailors, retired agronomes and 90-year old parachuters:

Eyes as Big as Plates # Hallvar © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Eyes as Big as Plates # Hallvar II © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Eyes as Big as Plates # Torleiv © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Eyes as Big as Plates # Paul © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Eyes as Big as Plates # Astrid © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Eyes as Big as Plates # Astrid II © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Eyes as Big as Plates # Agnes © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Eyes as Big as Plates # Agnes II © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Eyes as Big as Plates # Bengt © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Eyes as Big as Plates # Bengt II © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

As the series got its first exposures abroad during the summer of 2012, the production also moved over the boarder to Ikonen’s home turf in Pohjois-Karjala. Part two of Eyes as Big as Plates presents Pohjois-Karjala seniors through references of familiar characters and protagonists of Finnish folklore, infused with the participating local seniors’ own stories and personal relationship to folklore, myths and imagination:

Eyes as Big as Plates # Pupi © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Eyes as Big as Plates # Velkkari © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Eyes as Big as Plates # Markku © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Eyes as Big as Plates # Tuija © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Eyes as Big as Plates # Salme © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Eyes as Big as Plates # Matti © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Eyes as Big as Plates # Leena © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

161 thoughts on “Eyes as Big as Plates – Norway & Finland

  1. These pictures and whole project touched me so badly and right now i feel like i’m the part of such a inspiring world. Thank you, thank you!

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely post, we are so happy our project makes you feel like that – THANK YOU!

      1. Dear Kersandi, we presume you mean Agnes -one of our absolute favourite ladies in the universe – 95 years old, 1,5 meters tall, jumped the parashoot for her second time at the age of 90 – we love Agnes too!

        Many thanks,

  2. These photos leave a lasting impresson on the soul and the mind. Not sure I like them but I won’t soon forget them either, Thank you for sharing and giving me something new to think about. At 80 that is a real gift.

    1. Dear Alioce, We love to hear our work has left a lasting impression on you! Even if you might not like them, giving someone new perspectives is a great value – and we love that Eyes as Big as Plates do things to your sould and the mind -thank you very much for sharing and keep on being impressed, provoked and curious!

      All our best,

  3. Very moving, inspires me to do something like this myself. We are all part of nature and vy beautiful. Thank you.

  4. Very Inspirational! A fine way of celebrating Life…. be it our surroundings or each other. Thanks for sharing such a work of art 😉

  5. What a fascinating and charming view of the world and those who are in it…all so easily intwined. thank you so much for a fresh glimpse and appreciation of the beauty in the face of those who have lived life freely and can prove it. cheers from canada

    1. Dear Ksenia,
      Many humble thank yous from New York and Oslo, what a lovely comment!

      Sunny greetings from Riitta and Karoline.

  6. Absolutely stunning, I have that choked up , right before I cry feeling when I look at these.
    Such beauty, The eyes of these people. I love this and am so happy I got a chance to see it.

    1. Dear Emily, humble thank yous for your lovely words – we are happy to hear you like our work!

      Warm greetings,

    1. Dear Patti, we love being your cup of tea, thank you very much for great feedback!

      All our best,

      Riitta and Karoline

  7. Some of these moved me to tears. I hope when I am their age I can still the wonder of the world. Thank you for sharing this amazing art!

    1. Dear Michelle, we are humbled to hear our work moves you – thank you so much for your lovely feedback! And thumbs up for a long life full of curiosity and wonder!

      Warm greetings back,
      Riitta and Karoline.

  8. I love your work. The models look fantastic, so natural in their relationship with nature. It actually makes me want to go and be at one with nature myself!

    1. Dear Kim, thank you very much! How great to hear you like Eyes as Big as Plates that much – in fact, we love your idea – and hope you found some great nature to unite with!

      All our best,

      R + K

    1. Wow! Thank you dear Bridget, may your heart continue to soar and your soul sing – thank you for magnificent feedback!

      xxx R + K

  9. What beauty you have captured 😀 Each photo simple yet amazing. Nice to see people being one with nature, my favorite is the woman covered in a blanket of moss and flowers. Thank you for sharing, blessings to you!!

    1. Dear Sharon, sorry for our late reply and thank you so much for your lovely feedback! We are happy to hear you like Pupi, she is one of our favourites too!

      All our best,
      Riitta and Karoline.

  10. I’ve come back to look at these numerous times. Such gorgeous images…the light, the color palette, the storytelling. So beautiful and inspiring.

    1. Dear Katie,

      Sorry for our late reply, but thank you so much for your lovely feedback and please come back and look at our senior heroes as many times as you possibly wish! Humble thank yous from Riitta and Karo.

  11. Thank for doing this! I am so glad my friend forwarded this to me. I will be 80 soon… and would LOVE to participate in something like this with my 80 year olds here in Ann Arbor, Michigan, US. Please come to our community!! We will host you and boast about you! Seriously, how did you come up with:
    1. Eyes as Big as Plates (name)
    2. This project of headdresses and what myths did they reflect?
    Love more information.

    1. Thank you so much for your enthusiasm, we love it! And if we get the chance to travel to Ann Arbor, we have a wonderful cast ready – wonderful!

      Eyes as Big as Plates is a reference to two different Scandinavian folktales, where a dog and a troll have got eyes the size of plates. Initially, the images in the series produced in Norway were inspired by characters and protagonists from folktales, with the headpieces created from organic materials in the immediate surroundings in our senior models’ homes or neighborhoods. When we moved across the border to Finland, the more pragmatic Finns and their differing views on the importance and role of nature helped shift the focus slightly, less focused on specific characters in folklore, and more towards personal relatioship to nature, myths and imagination.

      We hope to produce a publication next year, and hopefully it will reach the book shelves all the way to Ann Harbor!

      Wishing you a lovely autumn, and we’ll make sure to give a big shout of should our travels take us to Michigan!

      All our best,
      Karoline and Riitta.

  12. thank you. this is beautiful. well, the one with the seaweed makes me laugh a lot. oh and the one with the queen anne’s lace, but most of them make older people look so beautiful, when usually, aging bodies are not considered beautiful at all.

    1. Dear Anna, thank you very much for your lovely comment and sorry for the oh so incredibly late reply! We love Mr seaweed too, or Paul which is his real name..

      Warmest greetings from Riitta and Karoline.

  13. I clicked on the linked when I saw the Finnish name! My mom is from Kemi; these photos make me nostalgic of all the summers I’d go to visit. Ihanat kuvat, kiitos paljon (:

      1. mistake… I do not mean to unsubscribe and don’t know how to cancel this message from my ipad…

  14. Beautiful, incredible, wonderful.
    So few people are connected to landscape and their shared history nowadays. I love that you’ve collaborated with older people who are normally invisible, and partly hidden them while focussing on them as whole beings who are a part of a greater pattern.
    I can’t tell you how exciting and refreshing it is to see an absence of youthful pertness and over-grooming, and not a botox-poisoned face in sight.
    Thank you!

    1. Thank you so much for your warming comment and we are ever so sorry we haven’t seen it until now! Our apologies for the snailish reply, but we are so happy to hear your thoughts on the project! We will keep on truckin’, far from the world of pertness and botox 😉

      Warmest greetings from New York and Oslo,
      Riitta and Karoline.

  15. wonderful images. I love them, refreshingly different. photography has got so same y lately, great to see something fresh. I find these images dynamic and yet quiet and still..
    can I ask you what camera you used to take them?
    thank you, Lou

    1. Dear Lou, thank you so much for your lovely comment and so sorry for this very, very late reply! I use a Mamiya RZ 67 (and an older RB), medium format is the best way to photograph in my opinion. Wishing you a wonderful evening and thank you again for your comment!

      Warmest greetings from Oslo,
      Karoline (and Riitta in New York!)

  16. I love your work with the senior men and women and landscapes. There is such dignity, beauty and peace in them all. Thank you. I love the lily pad woman in still peaty water. Deb

    1. Dear Deb,
      Thank you so much and our apologies for not replying until now! The lily pad woman is Riitta’s luminous aunt Tuija, here seen swimming in the very cold lake at midnight during mid summer festivities in the east of Finland. She is one of our favourites too!

      Warm regards,
      Riitta and Karoline.

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