Reconstructing Identity From Personal Experiences

In her project Pine Needles, Hanna Råst uses her personal experiences to reflect upon how the process of growth can change our perception of our surroundings.

There is no tangible time in the growth of a person, there are only transitions. By this I mean how we change in our bodies, minds, and consciousness when becoming adults. Meanwhile, we are very sensitive to shifts and distractions from the outside world. These distractions may remarkably affect how we perceive the world and ourselves.

My series Pine Needles examines the role of photography in representing identity and the distractions and interruptions that may push us off the path of normal development. Sudden turns of events can change our perception of trust, personality and self-confidence. My works are based upon personal experiences, and by connecting these with my artistic work, I am trying to define how our personalities might suddenly change and how understanding the past is necessary for the present self.

I merge old photographs with new ones to reconstruct the image of myself and my identity. The method is simultaneously a study on how to take control over one’s own narrative. While working with the images, I am no longer an observer – I am becoming a participant. In this process, the most important part is to engage oneself on the level of comprehension. Photographs may show us our past, but what we do with them and how we use them is about today, not yesterday. The traces of our former lives are utilised in a never-ending process of making, remaking and making sense of ourselves today.

Words and Pictures by Hanna Råst.


Hanna Råst is a multidisciplinary artist working in photography, sculpture and video. Her recent solo exhibitions include Pine needles (2017) at Gallery Katariina, Helsinki and in 2016 at the Galerie Nomade, Arles, France. Hanna's work has been shortlisted for international competitions such as Voies Off 2017, Boutographies 2018, and the Grand Prix Fotofestiwal 2018 in Lodz, Poland. Follow her on PHmuseum and Instagram.


This feature is part of Story of the Week, a selection of relevant projects from our community handpicked by the PHmuseum curators.

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