This is the first black and white photo that I’ve posted. Not a trend mind you but merely because the colors and light were really off in the original shot and no amount of editing would save them. I love this late-60s Citroën 2CV and it happens to be parked on the same street where Alvar Aalto (see last week’s post) lived. He probably drove something cool like this if he drove at all. Here’s a cool ad for the Deux Chevaux:
I shot this beautifully restored Fiat 600 on the same street as the previous red Fiat 600. As I was shooting that car, a passerby told me about this bright yellow-gold one. Fantastico! I’ve fallen in love with these Italian beauties and the new Abarth version too:
Just behind the trees on the left is the Design Museum featuring many famous Finnish designers like Alvar Aalto, Ovia Toikka and younger talent like Harri Koskinen. You’ve seen their stuff before but you may not have put the name with their designs. I had a chance to visit Alvar Aalto’s home and office that has been turned into a tourist spot. A great place with tons of light and decorated mostly with furniture designed by Alvar himself. Apparently Aalto wasn’t keen to visitors so he had a secret door built in his library that enabled him to escape to another part of the house. Funny that this place is now full of visitors roaming through the rooms with protective shoe covers as if investigating a crime scene. No crime here though, just a beautiful space that is calming and inspiring.
This Citroën 2CV or “deux chevaux” always conjures up scenes from French films but I found this utilitarian, wood-grained beauty on the streets of Helsinki. I wonder if this car belongs to former Finnish Citroën rally driver, Ari Vatanen? Maybe he’s at the kuntosali working out? Speaking of French films, I watched the excellent Diva last night about a young French mail courier who loves the opera and making bootleg tapes. His audio recording becomes mistaken for a tape that would implicate a police chief involved with the mob. It all makes for a very New-Wave thriller complete with an exploding 11-horsepower Citroen Traction Avant 11B and mirror-sunglassed Taiwanese gangsters. The chase scenes are very reminiscent of another film favorite of mine, The French Connection.
For my car series I don’t like streets with even the slightest bit of a grade to them but I made an exception here. I couldn’t pass up this late 60′s VW Beetle against that yellow background. Note the optional mudflaps and fender splash guards for protecting the finish from the harsh winter rain and snow. I noticed that the Finns like to paint their buildings in warm tones to remind them of the sun. It’s a nice touch that you immediately notice walking around the city. I visited Helsinki during their warmer months and loved it but I can’t imagine what its like during the winter with extreme temperature drops and a handful of daylight hours. No wonder bears hibernate. For a look at what Helsinki looks like during the winter (of 1966-67) check out the Michael Caine film Billion Dollar Brain. Helsinki is also used as the location for many films set during the Cold War-era and doubled for Moscow in Gorky Park.
Finnish Lesson #1: The street signs in Helsinki (and most other signage) can get quite confusing because they display the names in both Finnish and Swedish. One street was marked Johanneksenrinne/Johanneksentie/Johannesvägen. Quite amusing. I’m sure Johann (John) is happy though.