Tiina Itkonen

Born 1968 | Lives and works in Helsinki


A lone house stands in a landscape that really only contains two things: white snow and above it a blue-grey sky. There is no one in sight, and nor are there many people in the northernmost latitudes in any case. The house looks cold and deserted, the only sign of life inside its walls being the dogs on duty in the yard. Over everything lies a profound silence, broken only by the occasional bird or a thunderous clap when the ice cracks.


Tiina Itkonen has been working in the north of Greenland for twenty years now, in the tiny villages on a narrow spit of land between the frozen sea and the eternal ice sheet. Her large-format, richly toned photographs show us a world where life goes on differently, where everything happens on nature’s own terms. Nature dictates the times and limits of any movement, as well as what humans and the dogs that are so important to them get to eat. There is no shortage of water. It is freshest when melted from the side of an iceberg.


In recent times, life in this distant Shangri-La, too, has changed. Global warming is melting the ice sheet at an increasing rate, and the freezing over of the sea – vital for the economy of the inhabitants of the island’s northern parts based on fishing, whaling and seal hunting – now comes a little later each autumn.