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PRINT November 1995

FINNISH GILT: THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF ESKO MÄNNIKKÖ

WHEN IN HELSINKI last winter I came upon Esko Männikkö’s antique-framed photographs of back-country Finns,1 I wanted one. Lust to own art is infrequent but not novel for me. I have often said that, given the pelf, I would be a collector instead of a critic. Writing a check is so much more sincere than writing a review, as you know by the pain of parting with your money. Pelf being what it isn’t for me, my lifetime total of art purchases can be counted on the fingers of one hand. But Männikkö’s photographs, which come in editions of prints, each cropped differently to fit an available frame, turned out to be almost indecently cheap. I bought the one I am looking at now.

It shows a far-northern sunrise or sunset, probably in autumn and thus late morning or early afternoon. Against a slash of livid horizon under an otherwise overcast sky, stanchion lights gleam wanly along a railroad siding

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