Rural life in isolated communities is difficult to comprehend for the majority of people who have never been a part of one. Kati Koivikko’s Golden Village is a book of photography that redresses the common misconceptions and prejudices of the way of life in such communities. Filled with bold imagery, it gives the viewer a fresh perspective of life and people in Luhanka, a village deep within the Finnish countryside.

The photographs show the people of Luhanka in the midst of their daily activities: peeling potatoes, tending their chickens, watering their gardens and caring for their families.

While Koivikko’s photographs can simply be interpreted as depictions of everyday life, at the root of her work is a strong and thought-provoking criticism of city living. Through illustrating this community, she is highlighting what is missing from life for the majority of us. She portrays a community of people where hierarchies do not exist; a community of people who talk to each other as they pass in the street; a community of people who live outside the realm of material obsessions.
This subtle book becomes more compelling over time. The modesty of the lives spent against the raw backdrop of Luhanka induces a sigh of relief as disconnection from the stresses of modern, city life becomes absolute. Looking through the different images you can almost feel the crisp, clean air on your face. The space apparent in these people’s lives, both physically and mentally, is liberating, challenging the viewer to question what living is really about.

Lally Pearson