Annika Haas (b 1974) is a documentary photographer based in Estonia. She studied Finno-Ugric languages in the University of Tartu (BA 2000) and simultaneously attended photo journalism courses at Tartu Art College (1999–2000). She has also taken courses in professional photography and documentary photography in London (in 2003 and in 2012). Since 2015, she has been the portrait and documentary photography editor in Estonian photography magazine Positiiv. Since 2018, she gives documentary photography lectures at Estonian Academy of Arts. In the beginning of 2020 she started as a curator at the Estonian Museum of Photography as well. The works of Annika Haas have been exhibited and recognized in Estonia and abroad, she has been a winner and finalist of several local and international photo contests (selected to Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition in 2015, UK; Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards finalist and 3rd prize winner in 2016, 2019 etc; Grand Prize in Estonian Press Photo 2014 contest and won in the Feature Photo category of the same contest twice 2010 and 2017).
As a portraitist and documentalist, she is mainly interested in people in their self-generated constrained and closed environments, which function based on internal rules. One particular feature of standalone communities lies in their opposition to the ruling majority, at times even with the rest of society. That is why she chose existence within such a conflicting situation as the main theme of study of her projects. In recent works, she crosses the boundaries of photography, combining different media including photo, video, sound and light.
EXPOSIÇÃO: Greenhouse effect
© Annika Hass
The photo project Greenhouse Effect portrays a new Estonian generation who inherits the problems of the greenhouse effect and looming ecological catastrophe from their parents. For the photographs, I chose the landscape on the outskirts of Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, a former gardeners’ area, where many abandoned and decaying greenhouses create an apocalyptic atmosphere. The project involves young people who are heartbroken about the future of planet Earth and who are trying to signal to the older generation that a world focused on endless consumer culture and economic growth is unsustainable.
The international survey PROMISE (“Promoting the social inclusion of young people”), which ended in spring 2019, found that 83% of young people in EU countries are interested in environmental issues and get them to take direct action. At the same time, the study shows that the newer generation in Estonia is rather passive compared to other countries, especially by participating in demonstrations, boycotts and strikes. Estonian young people express their opinion and support in other ways, such as making donations, signing petitions, expressing views through art and music, and publishing political blogs and social media posts. The young people participating in the new art project in Haas have clear positions in dealing with the problems arising from the nature conservation and consumer society model. The “Greenhouse Effect” portrays the new generation of Estonia, leaving the older generation to solve tasks related to global warming, the greenhouse effect and the impending ecological catastrophe.