Humanistic geographer Yi-Fu Tuan uses the concept of toposphilia (topos is Greek for place and philia for love) to explain humans’ emotional ties to places. Our relation to a place is not defined by the place itself, but by the emotions it causes us: through different sensory stimulus – smells, visions, tastes and feelings – the places remind us of experiences we once lived in other similar places.
I started to photograph my own toposphilia in 2015 when I returned to Finland, to my home country, after living more than a decade abroad. Soon after my daughter was born and as my spouse is Spanish, we still live part of the year in Spain. I started to think a lot about identity and roots, home and belonging.
In the end these topics are connected to the questions about the meaning of life and existence. Connection to nature is important to me: through nature I am not only connected to the place itself, but to the universe and myself. Nature puts things in perspective and reminds me of the transient character of life.
Longing for roots is a personal journey to reconnect with my roots and to find my place where to belong to and which I want my daughter to have. When reading about toposphilia, I understood the search for roots is not a search for places, but for emotional landscapes of love, consistency, unity and security.