A passionate young lady who lives in the center of the Finnish woods, has left city life for a life of loneliness with 85 huskies for company.
Not everyone would be brave enough to face -45°C cold, but Tinja Myllykangas, who values her special relationship with nature over material things, differs from everyone.
Tinja lives without electricity, relying on a wood stove for heat and candles for light. She kindly agreed to have photographer Brice Portolano spend two weeks with her, shooting her unusual way of life. In 2008, the strong-willed blonde chose to leave her biology studies in the city of Jyväskylä, Finland, for the Arctic expanses of Lapland.
Since she grew up surrounded by animals, she craved for the undisturbed environment she had on her doorstep rather than urban life. So she started looking for a place where she could keep sledding dogs, eventually settling near the Muotkatunturi nature reserve, 180 miles from the nearest town. Tinja has a deep bond with the dogs, who she claims require a lot of exercise. Getting to know each pack member individually is an important part of strengthening her connection with them.
She also keeps horses and dog wolfs, canines where one of their parents or grandparents was a wolf. Tinja says that the breed are extremely loyal and follow her wherever she goes. ‘I enjoy being on my own with the dogs and horses,’ she told Portolano. I believe that living alone is the most pleasant way of existence.’
Tinja says she doesn’t need financial belongings and is inspired by the beauty of nature around her. For her, chores never seem like a burden. Young lady’s wooden house has no running water, and food is prepared over an open fire or in a wood stove.
But, according to the French photographer, the most difficult part of Tinja’s life is the absence of daylight, which may continue for nearly a month. ‘She has a very simple existence and for getting water, she must break the ice of the river every morning ,’ says the author.