Elisa Ferrari is a Los Angeles-based photojournalist and portrait photographer who recently lived in Sweden documenting Sámi reindeer herders in the Arctic Circle. I remember learning about the Sámi people through Erika Larsen’s project Sámi: Walking with Reindeer, and while both series depict the same subject matter, they are quite different in style. I love how bright and saturated Ferrari’s photographs are, how much white and how much color is in the pictures. While I’m showing mostly images with animals in them here, Ferrari’s series The Sámi Way contains over fifty photos featuring landscapes, various facets of the culture, and expressive portraits of the people and their protests “against open pit mining, logging, dams, and wind farms that are currently being constructed on Sámi land. They protest not only to protect their livelihood, cultural heritage, and reindeer grazing lands, but also in the name of the environment, which they feel is their responsibility to protect for future generations.”

From the artist’s statement:

Can you hear the sounds of life
In the roaring of the creek
In the blowing of the wind

That is all I want to say
That is all

-Nils-Aslak Valkeapää (Sámi poet, 1943-2001)

The Sámi are an indigenous group native to the Arctic Circle. They inhabit Norway, Finland, Sweden and the Kola Peninsula – known as the area of Sápmi. By tradition, they are reindeer herders who have lived semi-nomadically in this seemingly uninhabitable region since time immemorial. These images where taken in the Sápmi area of Sweden. The Sámi have a keen understanding and awareness for nature and a holistic approach to life reaching back thousands of years. Within the resonance of their ancient wisdom is the call for a more responsible use of land and resources.

Visit artist's site: elisaferrariphotography.com