According to Finnish folklore, the world was created out of the shell of a duck egg made of gold and iron. The first human was born after a goddess was impregnated by the wind. According to the same mythology, human life first began in a place called Kalevala, a region now known Kainuu, situated on the western side of the Finnish-Russian border. 

While Kainuu might have been the birthplace of all humanity, these days it is notorious as the area with the highest suicide rates in Finland. It is also a stronghold of the patriotic 'True Finns' party. It is a place where East and West clash. It is a place with tensions between the free market economy and totalitarianism. Finally, it is a place of steep population decline.

With a group of four other photographers, I explored this place and its people. Working as a visual collective, each member of the team was free to pursue their own photographic methods. But collectively, we had the Finnish folklore stories in our minds throughout our explorations. Our general aim was to glimpse a connection between the mythical past and whatever remains in the contemporary world. 

—Aapo Huhta

Editor's Note: The collaborative work of five photographers will be exhibited for the first time at 
Photographic Centre Peri in Turku, Finland from May 16 to June 8, 2014.