Moving made me start this series. Our movements shape ourselves and our environment. What effects the movements we make have on the environment and to us? People have desire to feel like home and make their environment like a home they knew before. They change their environment and sometimes make it grow, or destroy it. I photograph people growing with their surroundings, and how it grows with us. To show how we struggle to adjust to our new place, and how the environment struggles with us.

It is a two way street.

Hanging Gardens is said to have been built for the queen who was missing her homeland- a replica of a real nature. The garden was so vivid, green and full it reminded the queen of the forests and mountains of her homeland Media, the current northern Iran.  I have photographed a lot of urban gardens, structured parks and nature inside big cities- the places people build for themselves to enjoy. While the real nature is struggling of the effects of a climate change.

The signs we leave after us are visible. Big European capitals are growing and growing, they have become harbors for people coming from everywhere. The current situation of refugees, immigrants, people moving back to their birthplace, my own journey as an immigrant, my life with an Iranian companion, living in big cities, losing the touch to Finnish pure nature, and the places I see shape this story. Also the stories I hear in these places, from people I meet and photograph. The story of Hanging Gardens, the story of Simorgh, the old Finnish stories of nature.

Like the king Nebuchadnezzar II built Hanging Gardens for his queen Amytis, we want to shape our environment and feel like home. We tend to glorify our origin, our birthplace, yearning it even when we wouldn’t want to go back. Hanging Gardens was built, built to remind of something, a memory.

The places I have photographed become the sites of these stories, trying to capture Hanging Gardens of today. Finland, France, Tunisia and north-east Iran, where the original Hanging Gardens got their inspiration from. I want to show the growth that still exists in the world also. People who take care of their spot in the world.

As an immigrant, I have photographed also other immigrants, not necessarily running away from something but towards something. Towards the Hanging Gardens.


Iiris-Lilja Kuosmanen is a Finnish Visual Artist and Photographer living in Paris, France. She graduated 2012 from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts as Master of Fine Arts. After that she worked in the artist residencies of Cité des Arts (Paris) and Hôtel Chevillon (Grez-Sur-Loing). She has had many solo exhibitions in Finland and has participated in group exhibitions in Finland as well as abroad.