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Tuomas Linna

Lingering in Rapalaakso

I was at my cousin's wedding. Around the big table in three generations  were relatives who had worked in the same sawmill. The first to work at the mill was my great-grandfather, then my grandfather, followed by my uncle, and finally my cousin.

I went back to the old house in the south of Ostrobothnia. I sat in the dark, listening to the silence, smoking my pipe and wondering why I even tried to fight it. Why not just give up and move where my roots are and have been for centuries? Later I forgot all about it but I guess the thought has been at the back of my mind ever since.

After laying my last grandparent to rest, I was given something that the family felt should belong to me: a 1906 Klapp folding camera. The camera had belonged to my great-grandfather—he had worked as the village photographer. I inquired after stories and his glass plate negatives. I was told that after he passed away, my great-grandmother took all the glass plates and sank them in Rapalaakso, saying she was completely fed up with photography.
I went to Rapalaakso to search for great-grandfather's plates.

I found the place and started to dig. I dug for a whole day. I dug for a day or two.

Tuomas Linna, 1985

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