About Veikko Aitamurto

Photographer Veikko Aitamurto has been documenting the life of the Sami people since the 1960’s. For decades he has followed the life and family of a Sami called Mr. Jouni Aikio, who also goes by the name Haikonen.

Mr. Aitamurto has documented the change in the Sami people’s lifestyle, and particularly the transformation in the sources of livelihoods.

The Sami people in Lapland, north of the Arctic Circle in Finland. Some Sami people, like Jouni Aikio, still make their living by natural sources of livelihood, such as hunting, fishing, gathering, and herding reindeer – the means that the Sami people have used for centuries in the arctic environment.

Jouni Aikio’s semi-nomadic life follows the cycle of the nature: In the winter he goes to round up reindeer, where the reindeer are identified by their owners. Only the Sami people are eligible for reindeer husbandry in Finland.

In the spring this Sami man herds and feeds the reindeer that roam freely in the mountains and woods. In the summer he goes fishing all the day round, and in the autumn he gathers berries in the woods. In addition, some years ago, he used to hunt willow grouse, but nowadays those birds have become rare. More about the life of the Sami here.

The traditional livelihoods of the Sami people are vanishing. The young Samis don’t learn the traditional livelihood skills anymore. Also the tradition of joiks, chanting, is disappearing, and the Sami language is vanishing.

Mr. Aitamurto has worked as a news photographer in Finland since 1965. He has had several photography exhibitions in Finland and abroad about Sami people’s life.

In his pictures Mr. Aitamurto wants to illustrate the beauty and uniqueness in the Sami people’s life. He is documenting a lifestyle which might disappear if actions to preserve it are not shortly taken.

Photographer Veikko Aitamurto
Haminasaarentie 39, 94400 Keminmaa, Finland
veikko.aitamurto at pp.inet.fi
tel. +358 40 547 1258

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