Untold stories of the Sami people: "Between two worlds" photographed by Joel Marklund

Joel Marklund is the Nikon Europe Ambassador, and for this project the sports photographer decided to show the two worlds that Sami people live in. The traditional, and the modern. Joel Marklund has always been fascinated by the Sami people: a community that have inhabited the local lands of Sweden for over 5,000 years. Working with Nikon and using his sports photography roots, Joel showcases the daily life of the Sami, overthrowing stereotypes and demonstrating the transition from traditional activities to modern times. Below, portraits of his subjects wearing their traditional clothing called gákti. 

From left to right in the slides; Anders Sunna, artist. Marika Renhuvud, dancer. Mattias Johnsson, reindeer herder. Ola Stinnerbom, Sami artist and drum maker.

The project allowed Joel Marklund some time to follow his subjects from seasonal Sami events such as marking the reindeer calves, so huge events in their own careers like when Maxida Märak, artist, performed at Södra Teatern in Stockholm and when Marika Renhuvud performed at the ballet academy in Stockholm. 

Ola Stinnerbom, Sami artist and drum maker.
Ola Stinnerbom, Sami artist and drum maker plays a traditional instrument in Sunne, Sweden.

Ola Stinnerbom, Sami artist and drum maker.

"I work to reincarnate the Sami drum and showcase its relevance in modern times. The idea is to motivate Sami children and young people to build their own drum and play on it, celebrating our cultural heritage."

Marika Renhuvud, dancer
Marika Renhuvud, dancer, performs at the Ballet Academy in Stockholm, March 3 2017

Marika Renhuvud is a dancer who grew up by the waterfall in Storsätern, and comes from Sweden’s southernmost Sami village, Idre.

"I moved to Falun when I was ten years old and started dancing then. I have kept dancing ever since and now live in Stockholm where I'm studying dance at the Ballet Academy."

"It wasn't an obvious choice for me to pursue a career in dance. I have loved working with reindeers my whole life, and have followed my dad into the reindeer forest since I was a small child. It's something I really love - but I also realised that I have to dance, as it makes me happier than anything else."

"I think that through dance, you can inform and tell stories about our culture. It allows me to express myself - my pain, what I feel and think and what I want to change in our society."

Mattias Johnsson
Mattias Johnsson lassoing a calf during calf marking, on June 26 in Grävelsjön outside of Idre, Sweden.

Mattias Johnsson:

"I’ve had a fantastic upbringing thanks to the Sami culture and way of life. I want to give the same kind of upbringing to my children and guide them as much as possible."

Anders Sunna, artist
Anders Sunna, artist, in his studio in Jokkmokk, February 24 2017.

Anders Sunna, artist:

"Much of my art is based on my family’s experiences and events they have endured, such as the displacement which took place in 1986."

Joel Marklund was very excited to be a part of Nikon's ambassador team, and chose to document the Sami people as his project. Despite it being outside his familiar territory of sports photography, Joel captures his vision well.

"I am very excited and honoured to be one of the European Ambassador’s for Nikon; as a photographer, this type of recognition from such an established and respected camera brand is incredible. I was absolutely thrilled to be asked, and to also be an ambassador for the Nikon D5 has made this process even better. I feel privileged to be part of it all.

I hope I can be an inspiration to others and that my personal and individual style inspires other photographers - especially those who love sports photography."

You can see more stories photographed by Joel Marklund at Nikon's special project page.

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