On a road less journey, through the barren lands in Finnish Lapland the traveler can find shelter and companion to whom to share their story. The film is situated by a small wilderness hut and its surrounding landscape. Through meetings with people that roam the area in different ways we learn about the character of the place ascribed by the people who dwell in it. The wilderness affords different sometimes contradictory experiences to the different groups that use it, and is not as empty as it might seem.
The huts are important meeting-places as the skiers create a symbolic community among them. In the hut, people can share experiences, stories and advice with each other. The topics of discussion concern almost exclusively the place itself, experiences one has had there, choices of routes and so on. In these social situations, images about the place are produced and reproduced. However, to be able to participate in these conversations, one must roam the mountains and get to know it by feet and by heart.
In the movement along the journey, following the paths, perception occurs. Engaging in the landscape through activity creates a strong feeling of belonging. The same people return year after year, because for them the place has a special meaning. They say that they have an urge to go there, they have no choice.
Both the embodied (for instance they know the routes and contours of the landscape by heart) and the symbolic (For example the ritual importance of doing this trip) aspects of the being in this environment are significant in the constitution of the place.
The wilderness area is remote and desolate, still full of life. People find different ways to move on the snow, using either motors, their own strength or for instance the wind. The way they move and their purposes for being there (skiing, fishing, reindeer herding, guiding tourists) affects the way they connect to the land.
Bringing the camera to the field gave me a certain role, I wasn't just a passive observant, I had a visible task, which was to film. The challenge was that I did not know the people I was filming from before. A lot of the meetings with the informants were short, as they were only passing by. It was hard to focus on both creating a relationship and trust between us and the technicalities of filming at the same time.
When I was writing my master thesis the film material gave me a great recourse as I could always "return" to the landscape as well as being able to see and hear my informants again and again.
Portrait of an isolated place in the mountains during Wintertime with people crossing it.
Different people come and go for the most various reasons, but the landscape remains the same. They project their own emotional state of mind, some very distinct from the others, but some are the same. Beautiful photography.
Lovely film – beautifully shot and quietly edited. A glimpse of people’s relationship with nature, the simple need and pleasure for spending time in its enormity.