For three days every July, Finnskogen in the South East of Norway turns into a republic. Finnskogen literally translates as Finnish forest, and it has been shaped by migrating people from the Savolax area in Finland since the late 16th and early-to-mid-17th centuries. One of the characteristics of the forest Finnish culture is slash-and-burn farming along with a strong and sometimes mythical connection to nature.
This is our first dive into the epicenter of this culture in a village called Svullrya, where we are soaking up local mist, mushrooms and monologues on a mission to capture some of the rich oral history of this region.
We are hosting an open house for anyone Forest Finn-minded on Sunday 29th of September and Tuesday 1st of October from 6-8 pm. Come and share a snippet of your life, favourite legends and myths from Finnskogen, it might just end up as part of the Svullrya Development Project! Coffee and Finnish chocolate will be served with a dictaphone.
At this point you might just think we forgot something – don’t be fooled, we packed cameras too! Here is the one and only Einar Korbøl in the middle of the middle of the middle, as middle as you can get, in Finnskogen.
Einar is one of the cornerstones of this thriving community. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
About to retire from more than 40 years in teaching, Einar will celebrate his 70th birthday this Tuesday after handing in the keys on his final day of teaching arts and crafts in the local school. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Einar has no intention of sinking into his armchair. Every eighth- and ninth grade student has signed a petition for him to continue and he has several projects on the go in the local community. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Amongst a zillion other enterprises, Einar is involved in the Inventors’ Expo, chief of activities at Finnskogtoppen Wellness Hotel, an energetic disseminator of the ins and outs of the forest Finns, an avid actor and the driving force behind a local library of sports equipment. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Here’s one of Einar’s favourite bogs “Stormyra” in Kalnæset. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
The studio floor was exceptionally wet. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Shoot position 5476. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Pose position 629. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
© Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Right after leaving this bog, our material scouting in the woods for the next portrait got cut short by a growling wolf, so we are not short of excitement even in between shoots. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Our open call for participants on the local noticeboard of the famous “Joker” Supermarket, heavily featured on the national TV program Åndenes Makt, presenting Norway’s most haunted places. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen