“I’m interested in the possibilities of documentary photography as a way to tell about broader social changes through personal stories.”
For more than two years, Laura Böök photographed the lives of Congolese families who have moved to Pudasjärvi. These families have settled in this small northern Finnish town after spending nearly 15 years in refugee camps. The flow of the Congo River has given way to the flow of the Ii River.
Böök has closely followed and documented the integration of Congolese people in Finland. Simultaneously, she has followed the changing life in Pudasjärvi, which suffers from negative net migration. The exhibition also includes studio photographs from the 1970s, taken in Congo by local photographer Flavien Boukono, who has lived in Pudasjärvi.
Most of the families photographed by Böök have moved to larger cities, for the reasons cited by other Pudasjärvi residents: work, studies, friends, or social networks. A new home has been found, and life now carries them forward.
Laura Böök (b. 1986) graduated in 2014 from the University of South Wales. She currently lives and works in Helsinki and is studying for a master’s degree in photography at Aalto University.