2006-2008. Five flights were needed in order for me to go from Athens to Mehamn, my first stop in the North, in the Arctic. A fishing village of seven hundred inhabitants.
The thermometer shows -10. It never gets dark. Twenty-four hours with light and without a sense of time. Silence everywhere. The most silent landscape I have ever met. I am staying at the Hotel Arctic. On most days I am alone, there are no other clients.
En route to Gamvik - known for its light-house and its horrendous medieval past, where "witches" were burned at the stake, I observe the landscape: white, isolated, melancholy. Back in Mehamn, I start off early in the morning with the fishing vessel "Gamnesvaag" for a full day of fishing cod in the frozen Barents sea. It is snowing. People here make a living either from fishing or from the fish factories. The arctic tundra does not allow for anything to grow. The landscape is bare. And the only reason the Barents sea does not freeze is because of the warm currents. Across from us is the North Pole.
Mageroya island. Honingsvag, the city close to Nordkap. I start off for the northern end. During the journey I am alone in a vast landscape. Hurtigruten, the ship of the North. I descend the fjord to Hammerfest, the "big city", on Kvaloya isle. It is the northernmost city of Europe and one of the closest to the North Pole.
The whole of Finnmark province has no architectural interest. All the houses are new because of operation "Nordlicht 2": before the Germans retreated in World War II, they destroyed, burned, leveled the cities and villages so that the Red Army would not find anything. It is said that the only thing left standing was the chapel in the Hammerfest cemetery. A tragic irony. Nothing was left standing for the living, only for the dead... This is also where I saw the first trees.
As I was photographing along the beach, two little girls came up to me and asked why I was photographing the sea. I responded that I was searching for the beginning and the end of Europe. They asked to be photographed...