“As time goes by, the status of the forests has been changing with the rise of industrialisation and urbanisation, but the connection between the Finnish people and the forest remains. For the Finns, the forest has once symbolised something spiritual and holy. Nature gods and spirits were worshipped in the sun-lit groves and dark and gloomy spruce forests were avoided since they were considered to be the realms of goblins and trolls. The lives of the Nordic people were not directed by a calendar, but the harvest season of berries and mushrooms and the yearly migration routes of the animals. The forest used to be our ruler.”
In 2015 I collaborated with circus artists Sade Kamppila and Viivi Roiha to create a series of images we called 'The Forest Project'.
For 3 days, we stayed in an isolated forest cottage in Finland (right next to the Russian border).
It overlooked a beautiful lake (one of nearly 200k lakes Finland has to offer), no shower or running water, yes sauna, yes fireplace, yes (what felt like) world’s largest population of human-eating-mosquitos, yes great food by fantastic cooks Sade & Viivi and YES, loads of inspiration from the Finnish nature and THE FOREST.
We created imagery to inspire what would later become a contemporary circus show travelling around Finland and Europe. The show was called METSÄ (‘forest’ in Finnish).
Each day, in the end, we’d spend some time in the sauna. When we’d get too hot we’d exit the sauna and jump into the frozen lake. After being in the frozen lake for few seconds your body could resist the cold outside. You’d sit naked on the deck for 5 minutes while being rained on. It was a beautiful experience, feeling one with nature.
This was the last image we created. It was made right after our last sauna session. Sade’s on the left, Viivi on the right.
You can find more info on the project at metsatheforestproject.info.
June 2015, Finland (near Veljesmajantie, Parikkala).
Available in 4 common standard A sizes:
A1 - 59.4 x 84.1 cm / 23.4" x 33.1"
A2 - 42 x 59.4 cm / 16.5" x 23.4"
A3 - 29.7 x 42 cm / 11.7" x 16.5"
A4 - 21 x 29.7 cm / 8.3" x 11.7"
Museum quality C-type print on 231gsm Fuji Crystal semi-matt archive paper. Smooth texture, bright white paper tone with slight sheen / satin finish.
Printed in London. £6 worldwide shipping from London (UK) using Royal Mail trackable service.
This is an Open Edition print. It is not signed or numbered by Ben Hopper, which makes it less pricey.