September 13, 2013

Atelieri O. Haapala – Victorian Photo booth

One of the superb treats at this years festival is the Finnish duo Atelieri O. Haapala, photographers extraordinaire! They will be part of the art exhibition as well as photograph our beautiful festival guests…


Hi Saara Salmi, you are an art/photography duo with you partner Marco Melander, tell us a bit about yourself?

Well, we are married and we’ve worked together in our Neo-Victorian photo-studio since 2008. We live in Helsinki surrounded by pine trees and we share a studio in a jugend styled building which used to be a library for the blind. Marco has a long career in photography and he has mostly worked with designers. I have studied and worked with many things such as animation, graphic design and set painting for films, but finally got happily stuck to photography.


You have specialized in shooting burlesque performers, what is so special about them and why do they inspire you?

Burlesque is a very inspiring scene. All the performers have created a role character and they tell a story in their performances – it’s like putting a little bit of magic in this grey world, creating a glittery illusion.


You also do the amazing Victorian Photobooth, tell us how you got in to that, and what is it?

Atelieri O. Haapala (our touring photo-studio) was born 5 years ago when I was working in the picture archives of the National Board of Antiquities. My job was to digitize late 1800’s – early 1900’s photographs, and after a few thousand of those, I got an idea that also Marco liked. I painted a backdrop with zeppelins and Marco built a wooden Victorian-style camera that worked digitally. We then went to this steampunk-themed party and soon people were asking where we’re going to be next time! So we just had to continue touring in different events.

Basically when we go to parties, we set up the studio in some corner, perform as our role characters Mrs Haapala and Mr Schweinstein, and shoot people for a few hours. Mr Schweinstein (Marco) operates the camera, and Mrs Haapala (me) gives directions.

The wooden digi-camera doesn’t work any more.. but we make everything still digitally.



You will both exhibit and photograph audience and performers through out the festival, will you have time to see the shows? And what do you most look forward to?

Usually during the shows it’s more quiet at our photo booth, so we also get to see some of the performances. We’re really waiting to experience the atmosphere, meet some old friends and make new ones.. It is wonderful to be part of this festival! 🙂


Atelieri O. Haapala will exhibit photographs at Södra Teater lobby during the whole weekend together with projected images at Nalen during the show. They will be photographing audience members during Friday and Saturday night show from 20.00. A victorian photograph cost 130 sek.
You can read more about Haapala here:


    One Comment

  • Kim Hutsell September 13, 2013

    The BEST theme photography I’ve ever seen…anywhere…ever! The highest quality in every way!