Photographer Boris Mäemets


I went to see fashion photographer Boris Mäemets exhibition at Estonian Museum Of Applied Art And Design in September 2017. 

Boris Mäemets (1929) was fashion photographer during Soviet Estonia between 1959 and 1975. The beginning of his career started in the first advertising bureau of Estonia, after he had spend couple of years in Siberia because of resisting the Soviet occupation. Mäemets took photographs of exhibitions and interiors as well, but the main focus was in fashion. He signed a contract of Tallinn Fashion House, what published fashion periodical Siluett in 1967. In the beginning of 1970’s Siluett’s print run was more than 50 000 copies in Estonia and Russian edition ran to 300 000 copies.

Siluett included compulsory reverence to the Soviet ideology, but Mäemets’s photographs had clear propaganda about Western fashion and way of life. Photo shoots took place in Tallinn’s Old Town, natural settings, in front of modern buldings, various interiors and exhibition halls. Mäemets liked to shoot with Kodak’s wide film and one scene would usually take about 12 frames.

Vogue and other Western fashion magazines were purchased from antique shops and sent by relatives who had fled to the West. In Siluett they didn’t accept bold poses but Mäemets’ archive reveals that the expressive poses and models flirting with the camera was his main subject of interest. Mäemets preferred Helle Ryzhova and Faime Jürno from the fashion house’s models.

In 1975 Mäemets started take photographs to Leningrad’s fashion house where was offered better working conditions, professional studio. The exhibition “In front and behind the lens” showed photos that were published in Siluett and also photos what pleased only Mäemets. Photos tell a story of one of the most important eras of Estonian fashion.


Photographer Francesca Woodman


New year and finally new blog post! I visited in last September at The Finnish Museum of Photography, where was Francesca Woodman’s exhibition.

Woodman was an American photographer, who died by suicide just at the age of 22. She was born in 1958 and died in 1981. Woodman studied at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in Providence, Rhode Island and one year during studies in Rome, 1977-1978. She spoke fluent Italian, because her family has spent summers in Italy. She moved to New York City in 1979 and tried to get work from fashion photographers without result.

In late 1980, Woodman became depressed due to the failure of her work to attract attention and to a broken relationship. She survived a suicide attempt in the autumn of 1980, after which she lived with her parents in Manhattan. On January 19, 1981, Woodman died by suicide, jumping out of a loft window of a building on the East Side of New York. Her father has suggested that Woodman’s suicide was related to an unsuccessful application for funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

During her short life Woodman created at least 10,000 negatives, which her parents now keep. Her parents also keep over 800 prints, of which only around 120 images had been published or exhibited as of 2006. Most of Woodman’s prints are 20 by 25 cm or smaller.

Exhibition’s theme in The Finnish Museum of Photography was “being an angel”. Inspiration to that were Duane Michals’ work where was features as blurring, angels and handwriting and the symbolic work of Max Klinger. Other influences to Woodman’s work were for example Gothic fiction, surrealism, André Breton’s novel Nadja, Man Ray and Deborah Turbeville. Woodman was exposed to In combining performance, play and self-exposure, Woodman’s photographs create extreme and often disturbing psychological states.


Estonian Museum Of Applied Art And Design


Estonian Museum Of Applied Art And Design is good choice to visit when you travel to Tallinn, because it situates in Old Town, has a big collection and tickets are only 4 euros.

When people visit in Tallinn, they go nearly always in Old Town, where situates a couple of museums. Estonian Museum Of Applied Art And Design (ETDM) is definitely one of the most interesting ones. There’s thousands of pieces of applied art and design from their collection of 15000 exhibits. There’s ceramics, glass, textiles, furniture, leather, jewellery, metal and product design. Collection has initiated in 1919 as the part of the collections of the Estonian Art Museum.

When I visited in the museum in March 2017 there was as the changing exhibition European Cultural Lifestyle in Ceramics From Baroque until Today, where was ceramics from different countries of Europe. They were mainly dishes (lowest photos), but very interesting dishes.

I just took a couple of photos from some interesting exhibits, but I probably go again to ETDM when I visit in Tallinn, because there was so much to see for 4 euros.

ETDM’s website: