Friday, August 17, 2012

Fund Erika Larsen's book about the Sámi reindeer herders



Last September I ran an interview I did with Washington DC-based photographer Erika Larsen who'd spent the last few years living with the Sámi, an indigenous tribe living within the Arctic circle in the northern parts of Scandinavia and Russia. I absolutely loved her photographs and thought that they had an amazing sense of calm, optimism and of course, anything with a bit of snow in gets me straight away.

Since September, she's cropped up in a few places and has been featured in the National Geographic magazine and on their website. Now, she wants to make her work into a book and she's using emphas.is to do it. Head over there through this link to sponsor her and get your copy but first have a read of what I had to say about her work when I spoke to her last year. You can also watch the video at the bottom with Larsen talking about the experience.

Reindeer herders by tradition, the Sámi live a semi-nomadic life as they follow their animals across the Arctic wasteland. Living and working among two families and learning the Sámi language, Larsen immersed herself in the lifestyle for over four years. "I learned with the Sámi that all we have to learn exists in daily life activity," Larsen says. "I mean the daily chores and ways function as people, cultures, and family exists in the ordinary daily life. Nothing more nothing less."

Before Sámi, Larsen had been working The Hunt and Young Blood two bodies of photographs on North American hunting culture (Young Blood won a 2007 World Press Photo Award). Larsen continues: "I wanted to take that experience further and begin to live with an original nomadic hunter-gather society that was functioning and had their own economic sustainability in today's modern world. I also wanted to gain a better understanding of the primal drive of the modern hunter. I needed to get away from everything I understood and start again, with fresh eyes and fresh perspective. Begin like a child. I think the Arctic did that for me."

A version of this article originally ran on Phaidon.com in September 2011

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