Through his stunning visual project known as No Signal, photographer Brice Portolano shares the remarkable stories of people who have chosen to escape from a highly urbanized lifestyle and reconnect with nature. Arctic Love is the first of four striking photoessays in the series, which follows a young woman named Tinja who lives 180 miles from the nearest town. Portolano has documented her distinctive lifestyle in the wilderness where she raises 85 sled dogs and lives off the hauntingly beautiful Finnish land.
Tinja survives completely off-the-grid, cooking from a wood stove, using candles to light her home, and fetching water from a river where she has to break the frozen surface each morning. This is her life, and she adores the peace in the solitude that she has found in the wilderness. She enjoys working with her dogs, feeding, cleaning their cages and exercising them on runs across the tundra, but doesn’t keep the animals for any sort of commercial purposes. Together with Alex, a former professional skier who also appreciates the isolated lifestyle, Tinja is content to exist with nature and the animals as constant companions.The young woman finds inspiration in the Arctic wilderness, explaining: “I don’t want material things. Nature provides all I need.”
Portolano has documented similar stories of others who have sought to reconnect with themselves by retreating into nature, including a man in Utah who grows all his own food and a cliff diver in France in France. Through his project, the photographer has experienced multiple unique ways of life, as he emerges himself into his subjects’ lifestyles in order to better understand their fascinating stories. Portolano is working towards turning No Signal into a documentary and book upon completing the series.
My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Brice Portolano.