Harakka Island – Chapter 3

It’s time for the next chapter of Ice Swimmer’s series, Harraka – An island. Thanks again, Ice Swimmer. I’ll let you take it from here


Chapter 3 – Former FDF Building


1. Main Door, Former FDF Building, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The building is from 1928 and it used to belong to Finnish Defence Forces and nowadays it is used by artists who can hire studio space for five years at a time there. This is the main entrance.


2. The building and the Birch, © all rights reserved

There is a big birch next to the building.


3. Rusty Ring, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

A ring fixed into bedrock next to the building. As for the picture, Caine was definitely an influence for me in this kind of photography.


4. Corner, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

We’re going around the building. This is the northwestern back corner.


5. Backyard and Fireweed, ©Ice Swimmer all rights reserved

There was a lot of fireweed in bloom on the island. Now we’re in the backyard of the Artists’ Building, looking at earthworks built when Harakka was partially fortified.


6. Tractor, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The little tractor is probably used for hauling various things.

7. Chemistry Equipment, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights re

The building was used by the FDF as a chemical laboratory. For that reason, while there were plenty of wild raspberries, strawberries and other berries growing on the island, tasting them didn’t feel too attractive. The building is actually the third site for the FDF Chemical Laboratory. At first, the laboratory was in downtown Helsinki, in the same building that housed the University of Helsinki Chemistry Department and after that in one of the garrisons in Helsinki before it was moved to the island.


8. Whose Island part II, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The ratio of shoes / webbed feet is fairly small.


9. Birch stump, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

At the southwestern corner of the building, there used to be a birch.

Now we have seen the building used by military chemists and subsequently artists and some of its surroundings. Next, we’ll go a back, a bit south in the backyard of the building.

(link to previous post, Harakka an Island: Chapter 2)



  1. kestrel says

    Ice Swimmer, these are beautiful. When I saw that rusty ring I immediately thought of Caine. She would have loved that photo, and it’s so cool people learned from her to find the beauty in the mundane like this. I’m changing the meaning a bit by not quoting more but there is a part in Shakespeare’s “Venus and Adonis” that says:

    “And so, in spite of death thou dost survive,
    In that thy likeness still is left alive.”

  2. Ice Swimmer says


    Thank you!

    As a curiosity, the locally/nationally most famous person to have worked for the FDF labs on Harakka was Tauno Palo (at the time Tauno Brännäs) who was to become the biggest male film star in Finland between 1930s and 50s. He worked as a laboratory assistant in his teenage years and early twenties and did most his military service there in 1929. When he first got the job, as a kid, he had done a few years of primary school and attended some chemistry lectures at University of Helsinki (University lectures have traditionally been public events here). In late 1920s Palo started to acting in his free time and the nascent Finnish film industry discovered the handsome and charismatic actor and made him a star.

    A bit of errata:

    I miswrote the direction we’ll be going, it isn’t south, it’s north.

  3. Nightjar says

    Lovely set. I agree that Caine would have loved the rusty ring and I really like how you composed that photo to show the ring’s shadow in its entirety. The textures are wonderful too.

    Picture 7 is interesting and yes, picture 8 convinces me that island belongs to its webbed feet residents :D

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