the cold dark season of polar night

In the Land of Polar Night:  a series of photographs that I began recording in Finland. The images map the strangeness, the remoteness that makes Finland in deep Winter seem so Other, so unique. During this cold bleak season of polar night (which is Kaamos in Finnish) sharp delineations of night and day are replaced by tones of pitch black shading into deepest grays of semi-darkness and sometimes blending into dusky sunlight low on the horizon. Otherness reigns.

Extreme contrasts transform shapes and shadows of trees and rocks into eerie creatures. Expanses of frozen lakes and snowfields become mysterious terrains. Rarely-seen human figures isolated in the landscape take on the psychological and emotional tones of the darkness. In this land shrouded in shadow and obscurity one is aware of the ancient origins and animistic beliefs of the Finns.

Whether moving through the landscape by car or train, or hiking the cold, or looking intensely while standing still, I felt dominated by the power of Nature and the forces of the Strange while at the same time mesmerized by it all. These images are traces of the uncanny, of the Other—in the land of polar night.

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