Photo: Eljas Sallmén / Kaleva / The Press Photo Archive JOKA / The Finnish Heritage Agency

Zoom in on Kekkonen! Press Photographs

Closed today
30.5.2019 11:00 — 27.12.2020 17:00

30.5.2019-27.12.2020. The press photographs in this exhibition tell the story of a great leader of the people who was the ultimate outdoorsman and a passionate fisherman. The photographs were taken during years 1952–1980, in moments when Urho Kekkonen was off-duty, on holiday, or after the official programme of events or state visits.​

When the formal suit of a statesman came off, the president turned into “Urkki of the people”: an exercising, hunting, fishing, cross-country skiing, virile man of the people, who loved literature and art. The press photographs in this exhibition tell the story of a great leader of the people who was the ultimate outdoorsman and a passionate fisherman. The photographs were taken during years 1952–1980, in moments when Urho Kekkonen was off-duty, on holiday, or after the official programme of events or state visits.

Press photographer Kalle Kultala thought that Urho Kekkonen was unmatched as a photography subject. He had “a healthy need to be seen and heard by the people”. Kekkonen made sure the photographers had something to photograph and the people something to look at. The president became the most photographed man in Finland. Press photographers followed him everywhere, whether to Lapland’s freezing winds on the ice of the Somaslompolo lake or on a holiday on a Caribbean beach.

Press photographers featured in the exhibition are Jorma Blomqvist, Caj Bremer, Toivo Grönroos, Kai Hagström, Helge Heinonen, V. K. Hietanen, Kari Laakso, Hannu Lindroos, Tapio Maikkola, Stina Mäenpää, A. Pietinen, Jussi Pohjakallio, Esa Pyysalo, Heikki Y. Rissanen, UA Saarinen, Eljas Sallmén, Kari Santala, Matti Tapola, Christian Westerback, Mauri Vuorinen, Pentti Vänskä.

The press photographs of the exhibition are from the Press Photo Archive JOKA of the Finnish Heritage Agency and from the archive of academician, press photographer Caj Bremer. The photographs have been published at least in the magazines Suomen Kuvalehti, Seura, Apu, Hymy, KUVA-POSTI, VIP, and Viikkosanomat, the newspapers Ilta-Sanomat, Helsingin Sanomat, Uusi Suomi and Kaleva, as well as in magazines and newspapers that were clients of the news photo agency Pressfoto. 

Urho Kekkonen’s clothes and sports equipment on show in the exhibition are from the collections of The National Museum of Finland.