The Lottas

For the final work of my degree, I have photographed and interviewed women who belonged to the Lotta Svärd, ‘ the Lottas’ during
the wartime.

The Lotta Svärd was a nation-wide women’s organisation that was founded in 1921. It was part of the Civil Guards and helped Finland’s national defence during the Winter and Continuation Wars that occurred between 1939–1944. The Lotta Svärd’s two biggest fields of activity were catering and caring for the wounded. Finland signed the interim peace agreement with the Soviet Union in the autumn of 1944. One of the articles in the peace agreement was to suppress all the patriotic organisations, which was what the Lotta Svärd association seeing as. Lotta Svärd was disbanded in the autumn 1944. Lottas kept silent for nearly 50 years until 1991 when they got an official statement of gratitude from the Finnish
government.

The final result of my work is a colour photography series of eleven Lottas portraits. I wanted them all to wear the grey Lotta uniforms, linking them to their past, which also makes the series of portraits have consistency. I wanted the photographs to also be informative yet simple and beautiful portraits of strong women.

One of my objectives for this project was to, in my own way show respect and appreciation to these women and the Lottas as a whole.
I hope my degree work can be seen as a valuable and unique documentary photography project of The Lotta Svärd, who are aging and sadly may not be with us for much longer.
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