Latitude 63 Degrees North

During the holidays I visited my 95-year-old grandfather in the northern Finland, by the 63rd northern latitude. That particular area in Finland is known for its open landscapes and endless fields. During winter there is daylight only for a couple of hours around midday and the temperature sinks to -20° degrees Celsius or sometimes even lower than that.

63°N III
63°N III

My grandfather was born in 1915, he fought as a scout in the war against Russia during the second world war and he had to leave for war when he was only 24 years old.

3 & 93
3 & 93

In Finland young men don’t have a choice when they are drafted – they have to go or otherwise they will be jailed. The war in 1939 was initiated by Russia and it lasted for five years. My grandfather survived with a minor injury to his hearing, which he has always jokingly explained only have helped in his life as a father of five girls. There are stories about him saving his best friend’s life in the war but he has never talked about it himself. Even though we didn’t win the war, we were allowed to have our independence although heavily indebted to  Russia. Later years of his life my grandfather dedicated to taking care of his wife with Alzheimer’s Disease. So, all in all my he is a wonderful role model for anyone to look up to.

Across the Fields II
Across the Fields II

I took a whole series of pictures up in the north in very familiar childhood landscapes. When I was a child I used to spend my summers with my grandfather and my grandmother, during Christmas all my cousins and aunts came to their house to spend the holidays and we visited quite often during weekends also. For some reason I have never photographed that area before, maybe it has been too familiar for me to see it as a photographer. Now that I did, I can truly see the beauty in the open landscape and the nordic winter light. I suppose you don’t really appreciate those kinds of things when you are a child. Although the landscapes are very familiar, all I can really remember from my childhood visits to my grandparents’ place is the humming of the telephone wires and the smell of the oat fields.

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7 thoughts on “Latitude 63 Degrees North

  1. Dear Annika,
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful story about your grandfather. What a very, very special man and beautiful place to visit in your childhood. I loved this post, as always. Thank you for sharing a special part of your life and these beautiful images.
    Best wishes,
    Sondra

  2. Wonderful, Annika. Beautiful, heartfelt images and words about your grandfather, an excellent man. The more I read about your part of the world and the people who live there the more I want to see it.

    Another delightful and fascinating post. I am very much enjoying your blog.

    Annie.

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