Man IV, 2002 © Tiina Itkonen
Two polar bear trousers and three towels, 2002 © Tiina Itkonen
House, 2002 © Tiina Itkonen
Grave, 2002 © Tiina Itkonen
Tiikala, 2002 © Tiina Itkonen
Maaja, Ujuut-Piitaq, Jonas, Ilisipaaraq, Rasmus and Agatannguaq, 2002 © Tiina Itkonen
Qajuuttaq, Taateraaq... © Tiina Itkonen
Jonas, 2002 © Tiina Itkonen
Taateraaq, 2002 © Tiina Itkonen
Masaitsiaq, 1998 © Tiina Itkonen
Else and Meqo, 1998 © Tiina Itkonen
Savissivik, 2002 © Tiina Itkonen
Qaanaaq 1 © Tiina Itkonen
Qaanaaq graveyard © Tiina Itkonen
Qaanaaq 5 © Tiina Itkonen
The Arctic has fascinated explorers, adventurers, traders and whalers ever since ancient times. And since the beginning of the 1990s, I have been searching for my own Ultima Thule, my place in the Far North. I traveled to Greenland first time in 1995 and since then I have traveled regularly there to photograph people and polar landscape. The lack of haste and the peace of the landscape compelled me to return to Greenland.
I had a photography project in the northernmost Greenland during 1995-2002. I took photographs of the Polar inuits, “Inughuit”, and their environments. When traveling by dogsled with the hunters I got to see how unbelievable desolate and beautiful the nature is there and how astonishing the icebergs are with their varying shapes and sizes. And since 2005 I have been concentrating on photographing the landscape and icebergs.
The landscape in Greenland is barren and cold. Untamed nature starts nearly from your home door. The silence is never far away. Floating icebergs change landscape. What I see today is no longer existing tomorrow.
To befriend the scenery requires attention and calming down. The landscapes I have photographed are in places where I have spent time, returning to them again and again. I explore these landscapes at dawn, in the moonlight and when snow is falling. I wait, sometimes for hours, sometimes for days, for the right moment to take photographs. I love taking photographs when the weather is misty, it is then that the light flattens. There is only whiteness and a few icebergs. Like in a dream.
Movement through this landscape is not easy. There are no roads between the towns. To get from one town to another you have to rely on helicopters, small planes or boats. Travel is only possible when weather conditions are suitable: perhaps tomorrow, “immaqa agaqu”. I get to know the villages and their surroundings on foot. Away from the villages I travel with hunters, by boat or dog sled. By dog sled, the journeys last for hours; we are silent, listening only to the runners on the snow. The landscape changes gradually. I watch the landscape like a slow motion movie.
My whole photographing project in Greenland is a kind of longing to be away in a faraway remote place. I wanted to see how to exist in such barren and cold environment. As I became more used to the villagers lifestyle I realized people always have time to each other and nobody is ever in a rush. There I learned to be a vagabond, freedom of not accomplishing anything. I became fascinated to this northern place, its people and their way of life.
Finnish contemporary photographer Tiina Itkonen (b. 1968) lives and works in Helsinki. She studied photography at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki. She has been exhibiting in Finland and abroad since 1996. Her works are in the following collections: Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Fundacio Foto Colectania in Barcelona, DZ-Bank in Frankfurt and Helsinki City Art Museum. Her book Inughuit was published in 2004.
September 13 – October 21, 2012
Chassé XXL (Chassé Park)