Nanna Hänninen
30 km on the Road towards Rovaniemi City, 2006

Niko Luoma
Picture 258, Corner over Long Edge Off Midpoint, 2020


The Helsinki School represents a selected group of artists who have been associated with the University of Art and Design in Helsinki, Finland. What they collectively share is in how they use the photographic process as a tool for thinking. The concept for the project was introduced by Adjunct professor Timothy Persons in the early 1990s through his Professional Studies program. The platform was based on experimenting with hew methods of teaching and preparing master students for their artistic careers. Persons used his own personal experiences with the Open Studio concept and assignments during his graduate studies in Southern California in the 1970s, as a base to launch a new Nordic sensibility. It's focus was more conceptually orientated, exploring different approaches in how to translate the passage of time, nature and the use of light as a raw material.

Today, the Helsinki School is still directed by Timothy Persons in Berlin. As of 2022, it is no longer associated with any specific academic institution. The Berlin based gallery Persons Projects promotes and curates the Helsinki School through numerous exhibitions, publications and lectures and acts as the primary gallery for many of its sic generations of artists.