Quiet corners in the Finnish capital

We open a book that takes you off the beaten path in Helsinki, in words and photos – see the slideshow.

In our selection of Esko Jämsä’s photos from the book Helsinki: Quiet Nooks and Corners, you’ll see the Finnish capital from viewpoints you never noticed before – or never stopped to contemplate.

“Meandering tours” through Helsinki inspired writer Kaisa Raittila to create a bilingual book entitled Helsinki: Quiet Nooks and Corners (Hiljaisuuden Helsinki in Finnish – Kirjapaja Publishing, 2010). Her friend Esko Jämsä wandered with his camera, recording images to accompany Raittila’s words.

The resulting work provides beautifully arranged insight into some of the side streets, parks, fields, forests, churches and yards that are off the beaten path – or maybe even right in front of your eyes.

Flowers and buildings add colour to the city on this stairway off of Franzéninkatu in the Torkkelinmäki area of town. Photo: Esko Jämsä

Metal and stone flank a courtyard entryway on Meritullinkatu in the neighbourhood of Kruununhaka. Photo: Esko Jämsä

Sea air and Sisu: On the bridge to the island of Tervasaari, you can pause to admire the ice-breaker Sisu, a name that can be translated as "courage," "endurance" or just plain "guts." Photo: Esko Jämsä

The orthodox Uspenski Cathedral glows in the twilight beyond Esplanade Park. Photo: Esko Jämsä

Inside Uspenski Cathedral on Kanavakatu, candles and traditional décor contribute to the meditative atmosphere. Photo: Esko Jämsä

"When out strolling you can suddenly strike treasure," writes Kaisa Raittila about the statue of a girl lifting an urn, located in Katajanokka Park near Uspenski Cathedral. Photo: Esko Jämsä

A blanket of snow muffles footsteps along Pohjolankatu in the neighbourhood of Käpylä. Photo: Esko Jämsä

Located in the centre of Helsinki, Vanha Kirkko (Old Church) seems far from the bustle and traffic when viewed from across the park. Photo: Esko Jämsä

Five streets intersect at Viiskulma (Five-angle), downtown near St John’s Church. Photo: Esko Jämsä

Even we haven't managed to figure out exactly where this stairway is yet, but Kaisa Raittila and Esko Jämsä inform us that it's someplace in the waterfront park called Kaivopuisto. Photo: Esko Jämsä

Viewed from the tower of the Olympic Stadium, the neighbourhood of Töölö becomes a pattern of colour, texture and perspective. Photo: Esko Jämsä

Life goes on: Bright laundry dries beside an ageing battlement on the island fortress of Suomenlinna. Photo: Esko Jämsä

Photos by Esko Jämsä
Text by Peter Marten, November 2010