A Return to the Earth

Amidst Earth Day rallies and concerts, celebrate our singular planet with the extraordinary photos of two Scandinavian artists documenting "the link between humanity and the natural world" in their ongoing Eyes As Big as Plates series. Occasionally popping up online as "Old Finnish People With Things on Their Heads," the collaborative project in fact seeks to blend folklore with personal stories to portray the "slippage of elderly figures into the landscape."

The project by Riitta Ikonen of Finland and Karoline Hjorth of Norway began in 2011 when the two women met at an artists' residency in Norway. They produced the first part of the series in collaboration with "local senior heroes, sailors, retired agronomes and 90-year old parachuters." Since then, they have traveled and photographed throughout Scandinavia, as well as in France, Tokyo and New York. Weaving folklore and myth with their models' own narratives and interpretations, they present a solitary figure "dressed in elements from surroundings that indicate neither time nor place, encouraging a sense of timelessness and universality." The merging of their elderly models into the landscape, they say, "suggests a return to the earth, a celebration of lives lived, reinforcing the link between humanity and the natural world." And if you don't want or get that particular connection, just savor these trippy shots of old Finnish people with things on their heads.

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