My journeys to Kroxhult began in 1980 when I was sent to this fairytale region by the organization SSNC (Döderhult Nature Conservation Society) to document efforts to conserve an ancient rural landscape. In those days I was a rather shy photographer looking for beautiful pictures. I more or less stalked around and took pictures of the landscape and the majestic animals. But I couldn’t help seeing the farmers at work, so I started thinking about a clever way of approaching them.
It wasn’t as hard as I thought. Once I made clear that I was from the SSNC, I was immediately accepted: “Come in for a cup of coffee!” This was soon followed by: “Dinner is ready!” And then came the question: “Do you like genuine Småland cheesecake? We can offer you home-made pork sausage!”
I had landed in paradise, both indoors and outside in the landscape.
The paradise stayed with me, also after the film, despite the fact that my protagonists quit the farm when they became to old for the daily chores. But I’ve stayed in touch with them afterwards and collected more material for a book, due to be published in 2016. Here’s an excerpt:
Time seeps slowly through a landscape of ancient cairns and pastures. Through this landscape people and cattle flow like a stream that slowly, relentlessly carves out its riverbed, a furrow in the land. Wrinkles deepen and bodies wear down from the never-ending hard labour of tending to the fields, the forest and the animals. I watch them with my camera lens, I see how they toil. They claim that they just live their lives. Nothing special about it. Not true. In reality there is divinity in their labour; a stewardship of the land; a tranquil joy in their mission to run a cattle farm in communion with nature.