Note: Part one of my photographs from my trip to Helsinki can be seen here
When I returned to the city centre on Saturday, the city was much busier and louder than usual. People were dressed in extroverted, colourful swag, and masses of folks were converging towards the main square.
It didn’t take long for me to realise what was happening: it was the Gay Pride Parade 2014.
It’s one of the nicest things that you can experience as a traveller (or tourist) when an unexpected event occurs that you had no clue about. The crowds were gathering in the main square. People were arriving by busses from all across the country. Young or old, simply curious or politically active, everyone was welcome, no matter what orientation, or background.
So the saturday turned into a little bit of a photojournalistic moment.
Unlike many other demonstrations and mass people events, the crowd felt extremely calm, open, honest and spontaneous. People were simply proud of being themselves, instead of succombing to some form of group/protest identity that befalls other movements.
The parade was not only about sexual orientation. It had a strong political undertone. Small activist groups were wading through the masses. Leaflets were distributed about injustices in the immigration and asylum policies, bullying in schools, and racism.
Later on, the parade would start moving through the city. As it was my last day there, I decided to leave the gathering and venture out to get to know the rest of Helsinki city a bit more. The last thing that struck me was that even the town hall had raised rainbow flags. While I have never experience a Gay Pride Parade before, I am very certain that not every city would display such a gesture. A celebration of people’s autonomy, liberty, love and tolerance, the Gay Pride Parade is a movement that every larger city should have once a year, regardless of sexual orientation.
Shots taken with my Leica M6. Shot on Fuji Superia 200 and Fuji Pro 400H. Scanned at home.