On the first day of August 2019, 12.5 billion tonnes of ice melted in Greenland, which is reshaping the largest island we have on Earth. In the series Siellä missä jää sulaa (literally translated: Where the ice melts) the Finnish photographer and filmmaker Heidi Piiroinen tackles the urgent matter of global warming and the melting ice caps with the accompanying problem of the rising sea levels worldwide.
The series is set in Oqaatsut, a town with 30 inhabitants located 260 kilometres above the Arctic Circle. The icebergs outside the village are half the size they used to be, and the whales that swim around in the area are no longer behaving like before. Scary, as some of the inhabitants have said. The series combines nature photography with imagery of people smiling throughout the whole series. Photographs of shattered plateaus of ice, although aesthetically pleasing, put an emphasis on the urgency of the melting ice caps, and more importantly the incredibly fast rate at which this is happening.
At the same time we see children playing, laughing and jumping around without any concerns. In these photographs there seems to be no peril, no reason to be scared. All the while, the danger of global warming lingers in the background. While the swing-sets are filled with joyousness now, a future generation might not be able to laugh.
In The End of Love, Piiroinen documents the love life of two secret lovers in Tokyo, where sex is still seen as shameful and forbidden. The young couple is able to escape the harsh reality of this ongoing taboo and pursue their desires in so-called love hotels, where their love can be consummated in secret. The photographer shows intimate photographs of the two lovers on one of their escapes into the sinful love hotel, where they can finally be together.
Heidi Piiroinen is one of three photographers selected by GUP for an online portfolio from all submissions for the PHmuseum Mobile Photography Prize.