Ben Kaila Corona Days 12.4.–5.5.2024

Hippolyte Studio

On 29 January 2020, the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare (THL) confirmed that the first coronavirus infection had been diagnosed in Finland.

The risk of the disease spreading was said to be very low.

On January 30 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus an international public health threat.

On March 16 the Finnish Government announced that the country was in a state of emergency due to the coronavirus situation. The borders of the country were closed.

The Government obliged people over the age of 70 to stay in quarantine-like conditions, to refrain from contacts with other people whenever possible.

Ben Kaila isolated himself in his home and in his car, which he used to make photo excursions in Helsinki.

On 23 June 2020 the quarantine ended.

During the coronavirus epidemic, more than 1 500 000 cases of the disease have been diagnosed in Finland on February 1. 2024. Corona has been marked as the main cause on approx. 6 700 death certificates, and it has been a contributing factor in approx. 3 800 deaths.

In Hippolyte Studio, a series of 40 photographs is shown, which consists of pictures taken by Kaila during the coronavirus period. The pictures are from East Helsinki, with interior photographs taken at Kaila’s home. Most of the photographs are in black and white, with a few landscapes in color.

Corona Days was originally published as a photo book in 2021, and now the photos are on display as an exhibition for the first time.

Ben Kaila (b. 1949) studied photography at Fotoskolan in Stockholm in the early 1970s led by Christer Strömholm and Anders Petersen among others.  Kaila was a member of the photographers cooperative SAFTRA between 1972–1981 and the photo agency Gorilla was founded in 1987 on Kaila’s initiative. Kaila has worked as a teacher at the University of Applied Arts and in addition, he has taught at Turku Art Academy, Lahti Design and Art Institute and the University of Applied Sciences Novia.

Kaila’s photographic work has been published in the books Siirtosuomalainen 1994 and 2019 (with Risto Vuorimies) 1994, Kysymys vähästä 1996, Homeless 2002, Photographs 2008, Das Berlin Buch 2015, Corona Days 2022. Kaila and Vuorimies were awarded the Finnish state award for the exhibition Siirtosuomalainen (Finnish immigrants). Kaila’s photographs can be found, among others, in the collections of the State of Finland, the Finnish Museum of Photography, the Helsinki Art Museum, the Saastamoinen Foundation, the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation, Hannula & Hinkka and Lars Swanljung collections. Kaila was awarded a five-year artist grant from the state between 2008–2012 and a supplementary artist pension in 2013.



Ben Kaila
Corona Days
12 April–5 May 2024
Hippolyte Studio


image: Ben Kaila, Corona Days, 2020