Sami, The People
I have seen the Arctic as a place where the extremes play out in the daily lives of the people that inhabit this land. It is a place where man has learned to adapt to the environment that surrounds him rather than adapting the environment to him. Here I found the Sámi, which translates to ‘The People.’ They are the indigenous people living in the Arctic Circle region of northern Scandinavia and it is the largest area in the world with an ancestral way of life based on the seasonal migrations of the animals. The Sámi are by tradition reindeer herders and live a nomadic lifestyle based on the reindeer migration.
I have come on a search to understand the primal drive of the modern hunter by taking an inclusive look at an original hunter-gatherer society. I have come to see if when the land speaks there are those that can interpret its language. I have come in search of silence so that I could begin to hear again.
I will spend the next year exploring the Sámi’s symbiotic relationship with the environment. They are the only people who can own and sell wildlife in Scandinavia. By possessing a livelihood that is dependent on their surroundings the Sami are acutely aware of the changes in nature. They have managed to survive in extreme climatic circumstances for ages. I believe that through exploring this culture I will better understand our role as stewards of the earth.
Erika Larsen’s (American, born 1976) most notable bodies of work, ‘Young Blood’ and ‘The Hunt’ look intimately at hunting culture in North America, its connection with nature and its role in the cycle of life and death. She has been recognized by World Press Photo, American Society of Magazine Editors, American Photography, Society of Photographers, and New Jersey State Council of the Arts. Her work has been exhibited internationally. Erika is currently on a Fulbright fellowship to document the daily life and culture of the Sami people living in the Scandinavian Arctic. erikalarsenphoto.com.
We are very pleased to present the WIP-Lightside Individual Project Grant to Erika Larsen for her project Sami, The People.