Touko Hujanen: Forest Family

“Life may seem meaningful in any future.”

Lasse Nordlund

Through the seasons of one year, in 2018, the photographer Touko Hujanen (born 1986) documented the everyday existence of Lasse Nordlund and Maria Dorff’s family, who lead a self-sustainable life in Valtimo in North Karelia in eastern Finland. Lasse Nordlund is a unique figure in his perseverance and ability to live practically self-sufficiently. Nordlund’s record low in annual spending is 50 euros; he has made, built and grown almost everything he needs. Even now, the family of Nordlund and his partner, Maria Dorff, lives almost self-sufficiently.

The premise of the Nordlund family’s lifestyle is not self-centred survival, but the desire to learn to lead a meaningful life by crafting things by hand. They have proven that it is possible, under certain mental and material conditions, to live within a Northern welfare state, largely independently of this welfare state. In a time of environmental disasters and diminishing resources, this experiential knowledge is more important than ever. The lifestyle of Nordlund and Dorff is an example for the Omavaraopisto (‘School of self-sufficiency’), which aims to promote mental and physical self-sufficiency, and to support people in becoming fully independent of a culture and an economic system that require fossil fuels and that continuously cause natural disasters. The first study programme at the Omavaraopisto is scheduled to start in 2020.

The photography series was realised with support from the Patricia Seppälä Foundation.

︎ Website Touko Hujanen 


PVF 2019
The Finnish Museum of Photography


PVF 2019
Pertti's Choice Outsider Art Gallery