The Finnish Flowers

Try to understand, to see, to live our old age before our time, why? to be better prepared?
These questions can scare, some people do not want to face the matter at all.
The project “Finnish Flowers” is a sort of a challenge.

My curiosity was to find out how this phase of our life was lived in Finland, a place whose standard has been always recognised as quite high, almost a perfect country.

The project’s name, “Finnish Flowers” comes from the name of one of the two houses for the elderly where I spent about 4 weeks between summer and winter 2014 whose name is “House of Flowers”.

The facility is located in a village about one hour from the capital in an area where the Swedish and Finnish languages coexist just like the sea and the many lakes.

Guests of the “House of Flowers” live in apartments with all comforts and full-time care and use common areas for all other activities, everything is extremely precise and very calm.

Each of them has tried to re-build a familiar environment with paintings, books, pictures or family memories; all the apartments, despite being similar, are different and somehow special.

I used to speak in English with them, sometimes some members of the staff helped me with their native language; I replied to their questions about Italy so I let them travel to my country and I carefully listened to their stories so I experienced the Finland of their past.

I realized that there are many similarities that unite some phases of our lives.
When most of our life is behind us time seems to pass more slowly, the very concept of time changes and, at times, you have the need for silence to allow our sight and thoughts to go elsewhere.
Would it be nice to know how we will be when we are old? I do not have the answer.
We can make only little changes in our lives so we have to wait patiently.

About the author:
Daniele Cotellese was born in 1968 in Chieti, Italy.  He bought his first reflex in 1991 after a short experience as video operator. He began photographing his family and soon after started a collaboration with a local photographer. He still uses films, above all black and white but prefers digital for colour.
He lives in Abruzzo where he has documented the most famous traditions of his region.
He is carrying on different projects and a new one will take him in Sweden within 2017.
His work has been exhibited in Finland where it was appreciated by the local press and in Italy.
Email: daniele.cotellese@gmail.com

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