Exploring cultural traditions from Sami people in Norway Jarle Hagen shares his experience with Sami culture and the Leica Summilux-SL 50 mm f/1.4 ASPH.

“It was an amazing trip, where I met a lot of interesting people.” Jarle Hagen, a Norwegian photographer had the opportunity of immersing himself in the Sami culture, an indigenous Finno-Ugric people inhabiting the Arctic area of Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. Fortunately for us, he was stuck for a while due to the harsh weather conditions. The imagery that came out of that is beautiful, as can be judged by the video and pictures below, taken with the  Leica Summilux-SL 50 mm f/1.4 ASPH..

Jarle got the idea to focus more on shooting classic Sami people and their culture. They have a long and hard history of not being treated very well by the Norwegians. But are now a respected and proud people. This was a long and hard struggle, but got better in the end of the 1980’s. The story of the foundation of Norway foundation is based on legends (Saga). An important saga narrative that was overlooked in the 1800s was about Sami’s place in the unification of Norway: The Norwegian Viking Harald Hårfagre married the same king Svåses daughter Snøfrid. Snøfrid was through this Marriage Alliance one of the ancestress of the Norwegian royal family. The legends portrayal of the alliance and the royal house ancestor was not part of the country’s stories when one of the 1800s laid the groundwork for the narrative creation of Norway.

In Norway, the Sami have their own parliament which promotes political initiatives and manages missions and laws delegated to them by national authorities. As with many indigenous peoples, the Sami in Norway have suffered a past dominated by discrimination, particularly regarding religion and language. According to the School Laws from the end of the 19th century, all education was to be taught in Norwegian, a policy which remained in place until the Second World War.

Today, the situation is much improved, but far from ideal. The Sami experience way more discrimination than ethnic Norwegians according to a new study. Furthermore, their language is severely threatened and the issue of land rights is also pressing.

For over hundred years ago missionaries would eradicate drums and female Sami hats because they thought that the devil lived in it. Priests forced the Sami people to join the Christian religion. After that period the Norwegian government wanted everyone Sami people should be Norwegian. Even today The Norwegian government runs hard against the reindeer herders and the Sami people. They want the reindeer herders to lose grazing rights because of the mining and power line.

Elle Marja Eira

© Jarle Hagen

Elle Marja Eira is a poetic and political multi-talented artist who works with film and music. Her music is urban pop, reflected in the world she comes from. Arctic, electronic music colored by world music and traditional Sami music. She is from Kautokeino, northern part of Norway.

Eira tells stories from her family background as reindeer herder with music, and have directed and produced music videos, short films and tv-series. She has played concerts in the Nordic region, and International stages in Canada, Russia, Germany, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Guatemala, Brazil, France and China.

Elle Marja Eira did vocals and Yoik on a piece of music composed by Morten Hyld Pettersen. They mixed the music along at the tundra in Kautokeino and made it adapted to the film made by Andreas Ausland. Yoik is the Sami traditional way of singing. You can Yoik people, places, water, mountains and animals.

The photo series with Elle Marja certainly manifests the uniqueness of the  Leica Summilux-SL 50 mm f/1.4 ASPH.. And the torso portrait with the turquoise wrap over her shoulders, shows the sharpness in the skin and jewelry, combined with the absolutely beautiful bokeh the lens produces in the out of focus areas.

The experience: NATURE AND the Leica SL

“What fascinated me most about the Sami people is their pride and way of life. Their best-known means of livelihood is semi-nomadic reindeer herding. And this way of living, demands close contact with nature. A natural and fresh lifestyle, even the most hardcore and modern yoga/mindful person would not even get close to.”

Hagen talks about the use of the Leica SL for the shoot: “Since I had two SL cameras and lenses, the film is shot only with the SL camera and Leica Summilux-SL 50 mm f/1.4 ASPH.. lens as well.” He continues: “When I shot these images, we only had about 1-2 hours of sunlight a day. So I had to move quick to capture what I wanted with the ambient light I had available.”

Jarle uses Bron Paras. He mentions that lately, he’s used an Elinchrome Octa light bank with indirect light. It has a beautiful even and soft light.

Thank you Jarle!

To know more about Jarle Hagen, please visit his official website

Music is made by Elle Marja Eira and Morten Pettersen. The film is shot and edited by Andreas Ausland. PEAK VISION MEDIA.

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