Over the years, I have visited Paimio many times during different seasons. When I first began photographing the sanatorium, it was a misty day in autumn. I instantly noticed how the soft colours of autumn and the fog-filtered light brought out the bold silhouette and subtle details of the architecture. The bright colour planes of the interiors provided a natural contrast to the restful exterior. The autumn weather accentuates the connection between the sanatorium and the pine woods around it, highlighting the special relationship that exists between the architecture and nature.
I feel that the best approach for me is to shoot a large number of images over a long period of time – that way I really get to know the building by photographing it, by circling around it, looking for interesting camera angles and details. At the same time, I enter a kind of dialogue with the site. Having a large number of images also gives me more freedom of choice in the editing stages.
Paimio Sanatorium is a masterpiece of modern architecture. While I was shooting these photographs, the fate of this famous landmark was uncertain. With my photographs, I hoped to raise fresh awareness of this unique building among wider audiences.
As a photographer of architecture, I always look at buildings in relation to their history and surroundings. Most buildings outlive their creators. They remain part of their surroundings even after they are repurposed, the occupants change, or their original function no longer exists. Buildings carry fragments of history with them – I want to photograph those memories.
Paimio Sanatorium is a former tuberculosis sanatorium in South West Finland designed by Alvar Aalto. It represents the “modernist” period of Aalto's career, and followed many of the tenets of Le Corbusier's pioneering ideas for modernist architecture. The building is widely regarded as one of Aalto’s most important designs and has been nominated for UNESCO World Heritage status.