As you may know, I’ve made two trips to Lapland this year. In August we headed to Käsivarsi wilderness area, which is one of the most remote corners of Finland. I thoroughly enjoyed the nature way above the arctic circle and tree line. Ever since I’ve wanted to go back. We visited the village of Kilpisjärvi, which is very near the Norwegian border. If the nature on the Finnish side of the border wasn’t beautiful enough, it was totally mind blowing on the Norwegian side. We started our hike there and walked back to Finland, towards the Halti fell and from there back to Kilpisjärvi.
Afterwards we did a short road trip to the small village of Skibotn in Norway. It has been somewhat of a dream to visit the arctic ocean for a while and it was only 50km away, so obviously we couldn’t pass this opportunity. As much as I love hiking, my passion for photography really exploded in that small village. As soon as we returned home, I started to plan another trip, but this time I’m taking my camera bag instead of hiking shoes. I love the sea and nautical imagery. A vision arose.
The arctic aesthetics on film
Just imagine a village somewhere very far north in the shore of the arctic sea. Imagine tall mountains and mist, old buildings and boats. What kind of people live there? How do they live? I can almost hear the sound of the waves and smell the ocean air. Imagine fishermen with their wool caps and fishing nets. There is so much to love about that kind of arctic aesthetics. The plan is to take one week and explore as many villages and meet as many people as possible.
Imagine all that on black and white film. That’s what I want to do. I want to capture that timeless atmosphere on film. In a way, the images already exist in my mind. All there is left to do, is just to go there and take the pictures. I’m a nature lover and feel the need to document these beautiful environments now, while we still have them.
I want to go full analog too and really embrace it. I’ve been into analog photography for a while now and I has been a wonderful journey. I love the idea of simple mechanic cameras. That’s why I love my Olympus OM-1 so much. I want to go deeper though. I’ve been learning how to shoot without a light meter. I love it. The more tactile and hands-on photography gets, the more I love it. I’ll always love my OM-1 but the time has come to make another purchase.
My plan is to equip myself for the trip with a vintage Leica (I’ll let you know which model it is after I get it) that has no light meter. It is as simple and mechanic as it gets. I really admire that kind of precision in mechanics and minimalism, that puts the responsibility to the photographer. It’s also, at least in my mind, the perfect tool for the arctic environment, since it’s built like a tank and doesn’t have electronic components.
Ideology for gear setup
The gear setup is really important for the project. Everything is carefully chosen. I’m not going to bring a ton of gear. I want a simple setup that consist of one camera body, one lens and one film stock. At the moment it looks like the lens is going to be Leica Summaron 35mm f2.8. I’m not sure about the film stock just yet. I’ll be testing a bunch of films this winter and I’ll decide that later. Most likely something like Kodak Tri-x or something similar, that has the lovely timeless look.
The expedition is going to take place some time during the spring or summer of 2018. It all depends on how I can arrange the trip and how long it takes the snow to melt over there — if that’s even going to be a concern at all. At the moment I’m in the very beginning in my planning. I’m trying to decide what kind of route to take and which villages to visit etc.
Exhibition in summer 2018
I’m going to make a exhibition out these images. It is most likely going to be held at Galleria Monami in Helsinki, e.g. the same place my current exhibit “Timeless Helsinki” is now running.
That’s all for now! I’m excited about the project and I’ll keep you updated as things progress.