A Real Princess

A Real Princess

The third part, A Real Princess, delves into the relationship between a teenage girl and her middle-aged mother. This again is a question of change, giving something up and finding something new.

A Real Princess combines movement and stagnation, separation and staying still. Real Princess crystallizes the cross-pull between mother and daughter – pulling out, yet attached to each other – in one moment under water. It has toured the world’s photographic art exhibitions and festivals as far as Latin America and Africa.

A Real Princess, moving still images, 2007, digital art, detail.

All you can do under the water is blow out air and touch the other person

Four mother-daughter couples participated in the making of Real Princess. Ms. Partanen discussed privately with the mothers and daughters and photographed after that their encounters in the water. Underwater the encounter of two close women parting from each other formed for a moment a peculiar relationship which it is useless to even try to imitate over ground. The mothers and daughters met with eyes closed, only with the sense of touched – and sought each other’s lap.

The moving still images are almost stagnant, but still enigmatically changing: sometimes the water in the background stirs, sometimes a fine strand of hair.

The sequence A Real Princess that brings the Everyday Alchemy trilogy to a close consists of a series of digitally processed photographs and videos in which the subjects and their backgrounds have been shot separately and combined at a later stage. It follows in the footsteps of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty except for the fact that their photographs printed from negatives and their gold and silver backgrounds have been replaced with digital files and they attain visible form only through the medium of a computer screen or projector. This produces digital images that are powerful and large in size but at the same time vulnerable.

A Real Princess, moving still images, 2007, digital art, detail.

What role is left for the mother bird to fulfill once the nest is empty?

A Real Princess, moving still images, 2007, digital art, detail.

A Real Princess, media artwork


“Children grow apart from their parents and parents from their children. It is simultaneously fascinating, liberating and frightening.”

The Real Princess video work is a part of the series of works of the same title that as a whole forms the concluding part of Jaana Partanen’s Everyday Alchemy (Arjen alkemiaa) exhibition trilogy. Each of the independent parts of the trilogy, Cinderella (Tuhkimo, 2001), Sleeping Beauty (Ruusunen, 2004) and A Real Princess (Oikea Prinsessa, 2007) deals with the points of change in human life and the transformation of everyday things into something more significant than their appearance. In the turning points of life and as age accumulates, everybody changes into someone else, still preserving something same in one’s innermost.


A Real Princess, Kuopio Art Museum, 2008

Oikea prinsessa -mediateos, Gigantti, Pohjois-Savon taiteen aluenäyttely, 2008.

You will never be able to return to the golden days of your childhood

Oikea prinsessa -mediateos, Kuopion taidemuseo, 2011.

Bubbles, video installation

2005, video installation

The Bubbles video installation was produced alongside A Real Princess. Its theme is connected with the tsunami accidents that occurred in Southeast Asia at the end of 2004. The tsunami caused by a submarine earthquake claimed thousands of human lives. Video techniques are used to combine a huge expanse of gently swelling, beautiful blue water with a small screen on which the same water is seen in a threatening blood-red color.

– Tragic things happen, and we have to live with them. After the tsunami I stopped to think who helps whom in such a situation. Underwater man acts guided by his basic instincts. When time ends, we concentrate on the most essential, says Jaana Partanen.

Still image from Bubbles video installation, 2005.

But what is most essential?

Still-kuva Kuplat-videoteoksesta, 2005.

Love, surely.

A Real Princess, document

2007, 3 min 37 s

The musical documentary, “A Real Princess”, illustrates the production of the complete “A Real Princess” under and on the water, in imaginary and everyday states through the use of captions / music / and visual effects.

Everyday Alchemy publication

The photographer Jaana Partanen’s trilogy Everyday Alchemy, produced during the years 2000-2006, confers a gold and silver tinged value and significance on the various stages in human life. The commentary by Riitta Raatikainen explains the background to these parts of the trilogy and goes more deeply into Jaana Partanen’s art.

Arjen alkemiaa – Everyday Alchemy, Maahenki, 2007.

ISBN 978-952-5328-99-8
Binded, 104 p., Size 27 x 22 cm, four-color painting, hard covers
Languages: Finnish and English
Price 25.00 € (VAT 0%) + shipping costs

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Arjen alkemiaa - Everyday Alchemy, Maahenki, 2007.

What exactly is life?
Does life exist beyond our human perception of it?


Jaana Partanen

Partanen & Lamusuo Ltd