“The Reindeer People” is a photo project focusing on the Laevas Sami people inhabiting a region in northern Sweden between the mountainous Norwegian border and the lowlands near the city of Kiruna. Photographer David Bacher and cultural scientist Kerstin Schroeder have chosen to portray a society in the European Union that is attempting to maintain it’s indigenous roots, while at the same time co-existing in a complex and rapidly changing modern world.
At its basis, the Sami world is mystical. It is a world where man has been leading a nomadic lifestyle closely linked to his reindeer herds and nature for thousands of years. The free-roaming reindeer do not only serve as a primary source of nourishment for the Sami, but are also the source of a complex belief system heavily tied to the natural world.
David Bacher’s images portray the Sami world as it is today. It is a world constantly fluctuating between past and present and between animism and modern religion. It is a world that now faces physical and political boundaries, concepts that did not influence Sami culture in the past.
David and Kerstin believe that Sami culture can serve as a model for the continuation of human existence. The Sami people are innately tied to the natural world and understand that man cannot survive without nature and vice-versa. Humans are part of the ecosystem and must try to move forward in a sustainable way. Luckily a harsh climate and strong will has enabled the Sami to continue herding their reindeer without overwhelming negative consequences. Hopefully their existence will continue.