© Terje Abusdal

Terje Abusdal

Slash & Burn


Finnskogen is a large forest belt along the Norwegian-Swedish border, where farming families from Finland settled in the early 1600s. The immigrants— called Forest Finns— came mostly from the Savolax region, close to the Russian border at that time.

The Forest Finns were slash-and-burn farmers. Their understanding of nature was rooted in an eastern shamanistic tradition, and they are often associated with magic and mystery. Rituals, spells, and symbols were used as a practical tool in daily life; one that could heal and protect, or safeguard against evil.

This photographic project draws on these beliefs while investigating what it means to be a Forest Finn today, some 400 years and twelve generations later, in a time when their language is no longer spoken and the 17th-century way of life is long gone.

Terje Abusdal (1978) is a Norwegian photographer with an academic background in environmental economics. He works mainy on independent, self-funded projects in the intersection between art and documentary.

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