Helsingfors circa 1870
View of Helsinki, with the harbour and Helsinki Cathedral, circa 1870. Photo: C. A. Hårdh. Public Domain.

The Swedish National Heritage Board has launched a new image album on Flickr Commons – ”C. A. Hårdh – Helsinki” – with photographs by the Swedish photographer C. A. Hårdh, who lived and worked in Finland. 

Carl Adolph Hårdh (1835-1875) was a Swedish photographer who settled in Helsinki in Finland. He was born in Stockholm in Sweden. His father, Adolph Hårdh, came from Kuopio in Finland, but moved to Sweden where he established in Stockholm as a successful artist and lithographer. Carl Adolph’s mother came from Ockelbo in northern Sweden.

Following his father’s example, Carl Adolph was trained as a painter at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm. He moved early to Helsinki, most likely after 1855, when both his parents had deceased. His initial intention was to work as an artist, and he never gave up painting entirely. However, since it was hard to earn a living as a painter, he began instead photographing.

C. A. Hårdh had his photo studio in Helsinki at nr 31, Societetshuset (The Society House) in 1862-1875. He also had a studio (possibly his previous) at nr 3, Glogatan street. He became a well-reputed and successful portrait photographer in Helsinki, also working outdoors, taking photographs of Helsinki town and surroundings. Some of these Helsinki photos were collected in albums, probably for sale.

After a long period of disease, Carl Adolph died in 1875, only 40 years old. He left a widow, Maria Hårdh. Another photographer, Fritz Hjertzell, ran his studio until 1879 on behalf of the widow, whom he also married.

The photo album “Vyer af Helsingfors“ (Vues of Helsinki), kept in the archives of the Swedish National Heritage Board, collects ten original copies mounted on cardboard. These photographs will now be presented on The Commons in the album “C. A. Hårdh“, during the following weeks.

Welcome to the photostream of the Swedish National Heritage Board and the new album, to enjoy and share our images on Flickr Commons!

Alexander street in Helsinki, circa 1870
Alexander street in Helsinki, circa 1870. Photo: C. A. Hårdh. Public Domain.

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