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Erika Larsen spent four years photographing the Sámi
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Erika Larsen spent four years in Scandinavia documenting the Sámi people
Erika Larsen spent four years in Scandinavia documenting the Sámi people

Sámi is the result of a four-year-long project in which Washington DC based photographer Erika Larsen immersed herself in the life of the Sámi people. The Sámi (Joni Mitchell and René Zellweger are both descendents), are an indigenous tribe living within the Arctic circle in the northern parts of Scandinavia and Russia.

Reindeer herders by tradition, the Sámi live a semi-nomadic life as they follow their animals across the Arctic wasteland. Living and working among two families and learning the Sámi language, Larsen immersed herself in the lifestyle. "I learned with the Sámi that all we have to learn exists in daily life activity," Larsen tells Phaidon. "I mean the daily chores and ways function as people, cultures, and family exists in the ordinary daily life. Nothing more nothing less."

Erika Larsen, <em>Sámi</em>Erika Larsen, Sámi

Before Sámi, Larsen had been working The Hunt and Young Blood two bodies of photographs on North American hunting culture (Young Blood won a 2007 World Press Photo Award). Larsen continues: "I wanted to take that experience further and begin to live with an original nomadic hunter-gather society that was functioning and had their own economic sustainability in today's modern world. I also wanted to gain a better understanding of the primal drive of the modern hunter. I needed to get away from everything I understood and start again, with fresh eyes and fresh perspective. Begin like a child. I think the Arctic did that for me."

We think you'll love all the photographs from Erika Larsen's enchanting Sámi series so click here to see more. If you're in New York this evening, Phaidon Store on Wooster Street, Soho is hosting a party for the release of The Collector’s Guide to New Art Photography Vol. 2 (published by non-profit foundation, Humble Arts) featuring 100 of the most innovative photographers working today, including Larsen - click here for more information on how you can be there.


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