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Arctic Love by Brice Portolano

The Photographer Documented the Daily Life of Finnish Dog Whisperer Tinja Myllykangas

Posted by Gestalten—05/2016

As a photographer, Brice Portolano has his sights set on documenting people around the world with intense, personal relationships with nature: His portfolio includes both photographs of a French cliff diver, an Alaskan oyster farmer, and an elk hunter from Salt Lake City for his on-going project No Signal. For the latest volume of the series, Portolano visited Finnish dog whisperer Tinja Myllykangas at her home in Lapland.

Since 2008, Myllykangas has been living off the grid in northern Finland, where she raises huskies, horses, and wolf dogs. The nearest town is over 300 kilometers away; her home has no electricity or running water. Instead, Myllykangas spends her days raising her animals and her nights caring for the cabin by candlelight. With the harsh climate and long, dark winters, life in Lapland seems difficult, but Myllykangas enjoys her days spent immersed in the natural world.

Occasionally, Myllykangas offers tours and expeditions to those who visit her neck of the woods. “I didn’t set up a dogsledding business for commercial reasons,” she told Portolano. “It’s about my own love for nature and life out here in the wild.”

“I don’t want material things. Nature provides all I need.”

See more photographs from the extremities of the outdoors in our book The Great Wide Open. 

Images © Brice Portolano