Vesa Ranta photography & films

Latest projects: Reunalla(On the Edge) and Lottovoittajien Pöydässä

On the Edge

On the Edge project examines the final transition of peripheral rural areas in Finland. The project results will be a book and an extensive photography exhibition in the fall of 2017.

The depopulation of rural areas has been a topic of discussion for a long time, but historically Finland has remained a predominantly agricultural country for much longer than, for example, Sweden. Now a turning point has been reached in Finland as well. The vision for the future of the rural areas has leaned on organic farmers, telecommuters and pensioners moving back to their childhood surroundings, among other things. None of these have materialized in any significant scale, however. When the current inhabitants of out-of-the-way villages migrate to cities or pass away, there are no people to fill the space they leave behind. We are experiencing the final wave of the depopulation of Finland's periphery.

The change is rapid. Rural flight has become almost non-existent from these areas because the young migrating age groups are only a small minority of the population. Mostly just the pensioners and the elderly remain.

We want to document this transition now while these stories and the people who can tell them are still to be found.

Our purpose is to find out who are the people who remain in these out-of-the-way villages, who are the people who move in, and what are the characteristics of the way of life that is disappearing in these areas. We want to give voice to Finland's periphery. In our book we will also contemplate what the rural periphery might look like in the future.

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