FIELD TEST : SPRING, 2015
Photography by Janne & Samu Amunét. Notes from Janne Amunét
At the earliest sign of winter’s end, brothers Janne and Samu Amunét ventured towards the Arctic Circle. Constant travelers, they were eager to leave their home in Helsinki and explore the recently thawed Lofoten archipelago on the northern coast of Norway for their first road trip of the year. The twenty-four hour drive would take them through parts of Finland, Sweden and Norway still solidly frozen. However upon arriving on the coast the weather tempered. Usually a destination for summer trips, the idyllic village of Å was empty and quiet in a way only remote places can be.
Having visited a crowded Lofoten during the summer as a child, I always viewed the place as a tourist destination. Recently, I had come across photographs of the place in the late stages of winter. They showed Lofoten with turquoise waters coupled with white spotted grey and brown mountains devoid of people. What in the summer was a a lush, green tourists paradise, turns into a raw, natural haven seemingly of another world.
The town of "Å" in Lofoten is a twenty-four hour drive from Helsinki. It was March, we packed our gear, drove through Finland, stopping for a quick day in our hometown of Oulu. At Kiruna, the last big Swedish town before Norway, we stocked up on supplies. We stopped occasionally to capture the picturesque road side.
The ride to the border makes it clear that you’re approaching Norway. The flats turn to Fjells (high rolling hills) and good asphalt turns to ice-covered roads. On the border, you arrive at Björnfjell, or Bear Mountain in English, greeted with a snow frosted fortress of ice. The roads are walled in by tall snow banks.
80Km later the weather turns from blizzards and biting cold to sunshine and late-winter temperatures. The roads are now well kept and safe if it were not for the Norwegian drivers blasting past you on narrow mountain lanes. Lofoten is a chain of mountains rising straight from the sea. Flats are scarce and all the roads are drilled and hammered into the rocky mountain side. After Narvik, you pass a high bridge into the Lofoten. This bridge is built so high that at times it is closed due to wind so strong that it could push taller cars over the railing.
We arrived at Å with the northern lights painting the sky behind the mountains. In the morning, the little fishing village was quiet except for the few boats heading out. Hiking to Kvalvika beach or to the Laukvik fishing village; its lighthouses, boat-yards, cold smoked fish drying structures, the area comes alive.
This was why we had escaped North.
Lofoten is the perfect get-away when you lust after quiet and space, a place that is so grand in its nature and poise that it leaves your constant worries at home feeling small. The drive back was quiet, and now 8 months after the trip, I still find my self daydreaming and shifting through my prints, knowing that the winter will end in a few months, and I might just escape north again.
-Jane / Cinematographer