CANDIDA PRO CAUSA ENSE CANDIDO
A Photographic Series as Memory, Myth and History
de Rebecca Simons
In 2009 I was sent a CD from a family member that contained scans of a photographic album belonging to my great aunt. I was informed that these photographs were taken on Finnish Supreme Commander-in-Chief, Marshal
Mannerheim’s 75th birthday. This photographic series immediately caught my interest as it went beyond conventional family photography. What I was faced with was a photographic series showing my great uncle
Claes Gripenberg in an assembly of historical figures. It was a recording of a meeting between the Finnish and German leaders during World War II. Knowing that one of the historical figures, Marshal Mannerheim, was the
uncle of Claes Gripenberg, it did not surprise me to find him among these men, but seeing him next to images of Hitler made me not only reflect on our own family history, but also the national history it represented.
In this thesis I aim to find out what the photographs communicated at the time when they were first printed and used in albums and publications. Through the chapters I try to determine the preferred reading of the different publications in order to answer the central question: How has the Mannerheim series shaped memory, endorsed myth and formed history for the Finnish nation during and after World War II?
Rebecca Simons Master Thesis, 2012
Film and Photographic Studies, Leiden, Holland
Rebecca Simons is an independent photography editor, educator and curator. As an editor and curator Rebecca mostly work on exhibitions and photography books, a recent project is de Asielzoekmachine, a big Dutch cross-media project addressing the global refugee crisis and asylum policy in the Netherlands. Since 2005 she has been teaching photography mainly in Finland and Holland and through international workshops, focusing on storytelling and editing. She also initiated multidisciplinary projects like El-Art to help integrate entrepreneurial learning in European art schools. Between 2009-2016 Rebecca was working at World Press Photo as Senior Producer and Project Manager. As a Producer she was responsible for all the exhibitions, books and online productions of the education department. As Project manager she coordinated the annual Joop Swart Masterclass along with other workshops worldwide.