/ Joel Karppanen / Photo story

Finnish Pastoral

Georg Simmel wrote about the soothing power of the ruins. According to him, the ruins help us to appreciate everything that is “incomplete, shapeless and what shatter[s] the frames”.

Finnish Pastoral is a photography series that offers its viewers new means to indeed shatter the fixed models we have for perceiving spaces we don’t usually look at. It is a story of the village of Karinkanta, in the region of Northern Ostrobothnia, with a population of just under 200 people: a ruin yet to come. It takes an honest look beyond romantic nationalism into Finnish countryside and the changes it is facing in the 2010s post-industrial era.

Karinkanta became my second home after my mother moved there, and I have followed the daily life in the village for over two years in order to redefine my relationship with the countryside. Therefore, this series is also an in-depth personal study about the modern human’s yearn for the rural life.

While painting a portrait of the bygone Finnish Dream, Finnish Pastoral speaks to the fact that everything is just temporary.

Joel Karppanen (1993) is a documentary photographer living and working in Northern Finland. He has had exhibitions eg. in Photographic Gallery Hippolyte, Northern Photographic Centre and Mänttä Art Festival. His first monograph ‘Finnish Pastoral’ was published in September 2018