Touko Laaksonen - that's the real name of the artist Tom of Finland. He was born in 1920 outside Turku, a time when the possibilities of getting out of the so-called wardrobe were virtually non-existent. The name of the exhibition at Fotografiska, Darkroom, thus has several meanings.

- It was criminal to be gay, so he could not submit his film reels for development but had to create his own darkroom, at home. But then it also alludes to the fact that he had to hide his homosexuality, says Jessica Jarl, exhibition producer at Fotografiska.

Men in uniform

Muscular, gay men in leather and boots are not uncommon in the gay world today. What many do not know is that it is a world of images that was largely created by Tom of Finland. His youth took place during the Second World War and it was during this time that he is said to have cultivated his fascination for men in uniform.

- He created a new image of the gay man, that it could be a more macho man. It has influenced many.

"The photographs are fantastic"

Tom of Finland found some inspiration in bodybuilding magazines, but otherwise he had to dress up friends and partners and take his own photographs to have something to be inspired by for his drawings.

- He himself did not see the photographs as works of art. But many of the photographs are fantastic, so why should we not show them ?, says Jessica Jarl, who thinks that Tom of Finland was a better photographer than he might have thought.

"Pretty innocent"

Most of the negatives and photographs have been destroyed by Tom of Finland himself because he did not want his models to go bad.

Do you know what the men in the photographs think about being exhibited? They wanted to be anonymous from the beginning, right?

- They certainly wanted to. I would say that the photographs we found are quite innocent. They are dressed and not explicit. I think they would feel happy and proud, says Jessica Jarl.