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


  1. Pingback: Old people wearing vegetation as huge, unkempt hairdos [10 pictures] - 22 Words

  2. audrey


  3. Romaine Logere


  4. emma

    Thank you for giving us the opportunity to reconnect to our imagination

    • karolinehjorth

      Dear Emma, the pleasure is all ours! Thank you so much for your lovely comment, we feel like the luckiest artists around to have the opportunity to do this project!

      All our best,

      Riitta and Karoline.

  5. susancrow

    These are some of the most extraordinarily beautiful photographs I’ve ever seen.
    Many congratulations to all.

    • karolinehjorth

      Dear Susan, that is absolutely fantastic to hear, thank you so much!

      Warmest wishes from Riitta and Karoline.

  6. Wow! So inspiring! I love how the seniors are a part of their landscape, their land. Thank you!

  7. Kathleen Winter

    I am profoundly moved – hilarious, healing, beautiful and infinitely connective. Thank you.

    • karolinehjorth

      Dear Kathleen, we love to hear that our work makes you feel this way, that’s basically the reason we are doing this project, reactions like this makes it so worth it!

      Thank you!

      Karoline & Riitta.

  8. Lynn Isaacson

    Absolutely fantastic and beautiful!

  9. Denise Bachman

    Those are the most beautiful models I’ve ever seen in a photograph!

    • karolinehjorth

      Wow, Denise, thank you so much – how fantastic to hear!

      Warm and humble greetings,
      Riitta and Karoline

  10. Julie Garneau

    Really magical. Thank you.

  11. Onneksi olkoon – congratulations! These images are simply wonderful, and so spot on in communicating the natural yet fantastic, whimsical, relationship us Scandinavians often have with nature and natural elements. They also strongly remind me of Hans Silvester’s West African portaits, of flora used in tribal tradition/ornament.

    Thank you again for taking and sharing these images!

    • I thought too they reminded me of Hans Silvester. Strangely beautiful…especially the naked ones. Clothes seem superfluous.

      • karolinehjorth

        Dear Jane, thank you for your lovely comment and for introducing us to Hans Silvester’s work – it is absolutely beautiful and an honor to be compared with!

        All our best,
        Riitta and Karoline.

    • karolinehjorth

      Dear Inari, thank you so much! Kiitos pallion! What a lovely comment, and we just got another comparison to the beautiful work of Hans Silvester – we were not aware of these works until now, so thank you very much for that tip!

      All our best,
      Riitta and Karoline.

  12. Pingback: Eyes as Big as Plates – Old People Wearing Vegetation – in NY Mar 22 | The Plant Intelligence Project

  13. I absolutely love these! Thank you for the work you’re doing. How long will you be in New York? I’ll be there in mid-April and would love to see where the work is and what you’re doing if you’re still there!

    • karolinehjorth

      Dear Kendall, thank you very much for your lovely comment! We are in residence until end of April, and our closing reception is next Wednesday (24th)- if you are still in town, you are so very welcome to join us!

      All our best,

      Riitta and Karoline.

  14. Put a BIG smiiile on my face….Beautiful..Surprising..Adorable..Sad..Funny..Qirky..Inspiring as the Muse..
    & it made my Birthday ❤ Thank you..what a Humbling project..keep em comin ❤

    • karolinehjorth

      Dear Cariotta, your comment made our day, thank you! And we are sorry that our response come so very late! Happy belated birthday, hope it was a fabulous day. And how wonderful to hear that our work inspires you, we love putting smiles on people’s faces!

      All our best,

      Riitta and Karoline.

  15. Janet


  16. Pingback: Three things I have stolen from various places | Readers Guide to . . .

  17. This made my morning. I can’t stop looking at these wonderful pictures. Fantastic work!

    • karolinehjorth

      Dear Tickly Roach, how wonderful that it made your morning, we love to hear that! Thank you very much!

      All our best,
      Riitta and Karoline.

  18. Reblogged this on Cosmic Expansion and commented:
    Nature lovers of the world — unite!

  19. I love this project. Great work.

  20. Just plain fantastic. The beauty.

  21. Pingback: A Return to the Earth | The Dirt

  22. Amazing. Made my day. The people (and their hairdos) are so beautiful.

  23. Nice pics. Can recommend all of you who like this project to see Anna Halprins RETURNING HOME from 2002, she did performances like this at the age of 80+ to explore the changing body. The documentary about herlong life as a dancer BREATH MADE VISIBLE is also very inspiring.

    • karolinehjorth

      Dear Ulrika,

      Thank you for your comment and we will definitely check our Anna Halprin’s work!

      All our best,

      Riitta and Karoline.

  24. So cre8ive and fresh. Congratulations and smile all around.

  25. Sylvia

    So nice, i love it!
    Gruß Sylvia

  26. I am SO IN LOVE with these!

  27. Kathleen

    Amazingly beautiful,serene.

  28. Deirdre Green

    Fantastic! Absolutely staggering

  29. Joe

    These people and their portraits are elementally beautiful. The depth of insight makes my heart quiver and dance to encounter something ancient and totally new. Thank you. Thank you.

    • karolinehjorth

      Dear Joe,

      Thank you so much for your wonderful comment, and fantastic to hear that our work touches you!

      All our very best,

      Riitta Ikonen and Karoline Hjorth.

  30. Beryl Maclachlan

    Truly beautiful, as a wrinkly myself love connecting to nature, in the UK we appear to have lost this connection. Great work:)

    • karolinehjorth

      Dear Beryl,

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment, and I am sure this connection can be found in the UK too, we’d love to try!

      ALl our best,


  31. My heart is so full that my head cannot find the words. Thank you.

  32. I dearly love these–wonderful faces and grand foliate heads! My next-to-last book was “The Foliate Head,” so I have a leafy pedigree. Splendid. Utterly impossible to pick out my very favorite.

    • karolinehjorth

      Dear Marly,

      Thank you so much for your lovely feedback and for your beautiful writing about our project on your blog – we loved it! (And we definitely will have to dive into your world of foliate heads!)

      All our very best,

      Riitta and Karoline

  33. Pingback: Incubate Blog » Blog Archive » [Art] Old people wearing vegetation

  34. Nancy Kaufman

    It’s wonderful to see us old guys playing.

  35. Wow, amazing!!!
    Many regards

  36. Phoebe

    I love these! Thank you.

  37. Astri

    Tusen millioner takk, alle dere fantasi-rike og modige norske kunstnere … natur-elskere… visjonœre! Thousand million thanks, all you imagination-rich and courageous Norwegian artists… nature-lovers… visionaries! And thank you to visionary artist of spirit, Ann-Rosemary Conway, who sent me this, knowing how I love the Norwegian one of my home lands and the world of belonging in nature! I am so moved by your beauty of body, mind and spirit. And I giggle at the playing with echoes of Kittelsen, too! Blessing power to you all!

    • karolinehjorth

      Dear Astri, tusen hjertelig takk, kiitos pallion and a million thank yous back for that wonderful comment!

      All our very best,

      Karoline & Riitta

      • Astri

        I must add a correction to my comment above, I focused on the Norwegian artists before I read the text closely, and I want to also thank the wonderful Finnish artists too! THANK you, and creative power and inspiration to you, Karoline and Riitta and all of your collaborators.

  38. Pingback: torleif | sebastian contra mundum

  39. Incredible! As a descendant of Pajunen and Juntunen I truly appreciate the Finns.

  40. Human creativity at it’s best! Playful, beautiful, odd, and inviting…these are wonderful!

  41. This is astounding! Good for you, your energy, your spirit… and your photography too

  42. Björn Norden

    I find these images simply genial and very touching. They remind me of old beautiful trees. I had not realized that wrinkles go so well with vegetation. Thank you!

  43. Tracy Guzeman

    Such amazing photographs. I keep coming back to look at them time and again. There’s something magical and otherworldly about them. Will you be publishing them in a book?

  44. I would like to thank for your work. What a great idea! Did you KNOW the people who became the artwork?
    Did they like the result? How where they involved in making it?

  45. Pingback: “Eyes as Big as Plates” – A Photography Series | A Lonely Otter

  46. Your images are great! I really enjoy your work and find so very engaging. You must be aware of Sacha Goldberger’s work with his grandmother Mamika. It is quite different than yours, yet still there is some connection. Thanks for your pictures, they are beautiful!

  47. Pingback: F Stop Lounge | Photography Series: Quirky Seniors Wearing Organic Clothing

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