Ten People in a Suitcase is a response to the archive of over 30,000 photographs held by the Gösta Serlachius Fine Art Foundation in Mänttä, Finland and was made while I was artist in residence there.

The town was originally built around a paper mill, which was founded in 1868. Most of the images in the archive are of the ordinary folk of Mänttä, often anonymous and engaged in everyday activities. I chose ten photographs as guides, recreating the scenes with myself as protagonist and narrator.

Each character had something about them that I recognized. In order to create these new photographs, I had to imagine the events that led up to this moment in the characters’ lives, and in doing so, felt closer to the town itself. The photographs transcend mere re-enactments; they are embodiments of real individuals who are more than just their snapshot.

Through performance, Ten People in a Suitcase is a study of how historic photographs function in the world by depicting the clash between historical and contemporary image making.

—Trish Morrissey

Editors’ note: This series was selected as a finalist in the LensCulture Portrait Awards 2016. Discover more inspiring work from all 39 of the winners and finalists.