The Sámi & The Reindeer

On April 15th, award-winning photographer and Fulbright recipient, Erika Larsen, spoke to Brad Paris’ portfolio review class about her time with Sámi reindeer herders of the Scandinavian arctic.


Ms. Larsen showed stunning images and video segments of reindeer herding and hunting, meal preparation, family portraits and aspects of daily life.

Johan and Cammu

Over a four-year period, she gained access gradually:  “The first trip I didn’t shoot much, only 45 photos.” Living with two Sámi families she started out “picking herbs and cleaning…They started by making me ‘do’ the Sámi culture through daily work,” she said.

Sámi Woman and Baby

Not until a year later did she see reindeer and understand its importance to the culture. “It wouldn’t exist without reindeer,” she said.

Among Boazu

Her stays became progressively longer.  Ms. Larsen is now studying the Sámi language full time. She plans next to chronicle the seaside Sámi. Reindeer, she said, is only 10 percent of Sámi culture.

All photos by Erika Larsen

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