Aapo Huhta was born in Haapajärvi, Finland in 1985. He holds a BA in photography from the Lahti Institute of Design and Fine Arts and is currently finishing his Master’s degree in photography at the Aalto University of Arts and Design in Helsinki. He received the award of the Finnish Young Photo Journalist of the Year 2011, and in 2014 was selected as one of the Top 30 Under 30 photographers by Magnum Photos, won the PDN Photo Annual Student Work Prize, and was shortlisted for the Leica Oskar Barnack Award. His work has been published in Vice, Lens Culture, PDN, Red Cross Publications, Raymond, Photo Raw, HBL, Suomen Kuvalehti, Image, and Helsingin Sanomat. Today we share his series Ukkometso.
According to Finnish folklore, the world was created out of the shells of gold and iron scaup eggs and the first human was born to a bored goddess impregnated by the wind. According to the same mythology, human life first began in a place called Kalevala, a region now known Kainuu, situated on the western side of the Finnish- Russian border.
While Kainuu might have been the birthplace of all humanity, these days it is notorious as the area with the highest suicide rates in Finland. It is also a stronghold of the patriotic ‘True Finns’ party. It is a place where East and West clash. It is a place with tensions between the free market economy and totalitarianism. Finally, it is a place of steep population decline.
With a group of five photographers, we explored this place and its people. Working as a visual collective, each member of the group was free to pursue their own photographic methods. We had the Finnish folklore stories in our minds throughout our explorations and our general aim was to glimpse a connection between the mythical past and whatever remains in the contemporary world. I wanted to see what life looks like at the end of the road. I drove randomly, until the roads became too narrow, and visited the houses I found at these remote places. I tried to encounter all the inhabitants of these houses and convince them to let me into their homes and lives for a short while.
To view more of Aapo’s work, please visit his website.