Photography is everywhere.

Viewfinder is an exhibition about photographs, photographers, and the people who enjoy and make use of photographs. Each day around the world, hundreds of millions of photographs are taken. Why and how do photos make us feel and act?  

Viewfinder includes photographs from art to x-rays and photo albums. During your visit, you can examine a camera obscura, photograph yourself in the studio or peek into the darkroom. The exhibition's source of inspiration is the museum's collection of millions of photographs and objects.

On this website, the exhibition are approached through four themes: chemistry, power, memory and people. Under each theme, online materials that deepen the topic have been compiled.


1. Chemistry

Two images: a man working in the darkroom and a x-ray image of a snake.

Each photograph you encounter has required light, darkness, and a photosensitive material in order to come to life. In the exhibition you can learn how photographs are made, experience the red light ambience of a darkroom and and swaying reflections inside a camera obscura.

Explore and enjoy online:

Photos: Jussi Pohjakallio: Working in the darkroom in the 1970s. / Hilja Raviniemi. The Finnish Museum of Photography


2. Power

Two images: serial capture of a half nude man moving and an fridge advertisement with a lady in green dress.

Photos have revolutionised science, art, communication, and our social relationships. Photographs can be used as tools for both propaganda and resistance. Viewfinder approaches the relationship between power and photography with the help of numerous examples. 

Explore and enjoy online:

Photos: Animal locomotion, Plate 393, Eadweard Muybridge,1880's / Otso Pietinen, Advertisement for UPO refridgerators, 1956. The Finnish Museum of Photography


3. Memory

Two images: a boy in a simple studio setting and a portrait of a lady with roses.

Photos carry memories of our loved ones, the world, ourselves, and small and big moments in life. In the Viewfinder exhibition, old photo albums, group photos, portraits, a studio and objects tell the story of the history and present of photography.

Explore and enjoy online:

Photos: Ilmari Heikkilä: A boy in the village photographer's studio in Raivola, 1921. / Student photo. Studio Meeri Sirkkiö, 1968–1975. The Finnish Museum of Photography


4. We Photographers

Two photographs: two women taking a photo with the help of a mirror and video still of a documentary.

What kind of a photographer are you - or do you wish to be?  Photography is a form of communication and a hobby that brings great joy — it is a way of examining reality.

Explore and enjoy online:

Photos: Helvi Ahonen, 1950 - 1959. / Still images from videos. The Finnish Museum of Photography


5. Guided Tours and Workshops 

How are photographs created? How do photography, power and algorithms intertwine? What does Finland's first photo look like?

Welcome to explore the Viewfinder exhibition through discussions, listening, researching and experimenting.


6. Accessibility

The exhibition space has variable lighting situations and is dark in some sections. A red light is on in the darkroom and in the corridor leading to it. You can adjust the lighting in the photo studio yourself.

The wall texts in the exhibition space are either in white letters on an aluminum background or in black letters on a white background and the font size is large. The space has benches for sitting. The passageways in the exhibition space are at least 140 cm wide.

The colloquial language of the presented videos is Finnish and they are subtitled in Finnish and English. The video soundtrack comes from the speaker.

When possible, we aim to improve the accessibility of the exhibition.

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The Finnish Museum of Photography
Basement floor

The Cable Factory, Kaapeliaukio 3, Helsinki


Kämp Galleria
Mikonkatu 1, 00100 Helsinki
See on the map Kämp Galleria
Opening hours
Mon–Fri 11am–8pm, Sat–Sun 11am–6pm
16/6/0 €
Under 18 y.o. free admission
The Cable Factory
Kaapeliaukio 3, 00180 Helsinki
See on the map The Cable Factory
Opening hours
Tue–Sun 11 am. – 6 pm. Wed 11 am – 8 pm
12/6/0 €, 16/6/0 € from January 1st 2024
Under 18 y.o. free admission