This is it! The beginning of our two-week exploration and the first of three expeditions to find out who and what makes Kirkenes Kirkenes. Sunny -7C, fantastically clear skies and a winter squeak underfoot, our first day started with harvesting some rowan berries for our very first shoot with the local wrestling legend Willy Bangsund.
As our ground operations are in Norwegian, we expect Riitta to be fluent by 2017. Somehow it feels like Santa is just around the corner somewhere. Or at least a couple hundred of his reindeer are lurking about…
© Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
From left to right: Finland, Norway and Russia. © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
All roads lead to Kirkenes, the capital of the Barents region © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
In this neck of the woods, nobody uses official addresses. When arranging shoots, without exception the instructions seem to be along the lines of: Second house on the left before the bridge, the house with a green plastic bag hanging off the rubbish bin, or the house with the open door, or ‘you just drove past me, turn back’ © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
The view from our doorstep at the Barents Institute accommodation © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen
Aurora Borealis, also known as Northern Lights in the polar region, happens when solar winds and charged particles hit the high-altitude thermosphere at 1000 km above the earth, 10-20 degrees from the geomagnetic poles. We stood outside until we no longer had any sensation in our limbs © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen