Photographs can have magical story-telling quality, especially when they are introduced in an inviting way, and then, when they flow, in conversation with one another, allowing us to fill in the gaps and build a whole personal narrative within our own imaginations. That is the kind of magic that captured me when I picked up “Life in Death”, a photobook by Eva Persson.

"Life in Death" transported me to a very small village (named Death) in Finland, and introduced me, in an intimate way, to the people who live there and have lived there all of their lives. Through the seasons of dark grey winters and bright flower-filled summers, I feel as if I know these people — and this bit of the world — personally.

— Jim Casper

From the photographer's introduction: About Death Death is a village in Finland. I saw it for the first time during a working trip through the back window of the taxi I was in. As the taxi driver drove into the courtyard of a small shop and exclaimed, “Welcome to Death!” I thought to myself: only in Finland can a village be called Death (in Finnish, Kuolema). For me, it’s this relationship to death that separates the Swedes from the Finns. In Finland, you are born, then comes a long period of suffering, and then you die. In Sweden, you are born, everything is Jätte bra! (very good) and then you disappear. Like to Spain.

In Kuolema live two identical twin sisters who are married to two brothers. They all live together in a house. Half of the house is their home and the other half is a grocery store where the sisters work. The brothers work in the family’s gravel company. They have a child per family born within seven weeks of each others. The family name is Pitkänen.

I have with my camera followed the lives of the Pitkänen family and their neighbours since the autumn 2002."

— Eva Persson

Life in Death / Livet i Döden / Elämää Kuolemassa
Photographs by Eva Persson
ISBN: 952-9851-67-7
Musta Taide, 2005

Buy on Amazon