This photo project explores the restless lives of adolescents growing up in Finnmark, the northeastern most county of Norway which loops over the top of Finland and borders on the empty wastelands of northern Karelia in Russia. Norway's renowned wealth from fishing, oil and minerals largely originates in the country's frozen North yet many of the tiny communities that dot the fjords and islands along the Barents Sea have become forgotten, isolated outposts with few opportunities. Privatisation of the fishing industry in the 1970s brought widespread unemployment and depopulation to an already thinly sparsely inhabited region. Finnmark's youngsters are the region's future. If small, remote communities are to survive in this inhospitable corner of Norway young people have to feel that they have a future in the places where they were born. They need to feel motivated to build and sustain businesses that will flourish in this area and give others employment opportunities. Yet teenagers growing up here face different challenges from their urban counterparts. With access to the internet, magazines and television they are drawn into popular culture and constantly inundated with glitzy images of urban life so far removed from their daily realities.
While this story explores the practical and social challenges of isolated communities faced with depopulation in an ever more globalised world it also tries to get to the core of the tension between what these young people feel passionate about and dream of and the reality that daily surrounds them. It tries to give a sense of their hopes for their future and their desire to explore contrasted with their ties to their homeland and their families.
Work in progress.