IRIS nights at the Annenberg

Imagine living in a far away foreign land, learning about the culture, and documenting the experiences. Amidst an endless landscape of snow and ice one could embark on a journey of a lifetime. This is what photographer Erika Larsen accomplished. For the past four years, Larsen has been living amongst the Sami (pronounced like saw-me) people of Norway and Sweden. On Thursday, March 31st, Larsen spoke to a crowd at the Annenberg Space for Photography during one of their weekly IRIS Nights events, revealing her work documenting the Sami Reindeer Herders of Norway and Sweden..

IRIS Nights take place each Thursday and feature a different accomplished photographer or photojournalist each week. The lecture series was created to share breathtaking photographs with audiences that include people who are fellow photographers, whether amateur or professional, and those who have come to simply enjoy the beauty of the photos a photographer renders.

"Time doesn't exist. You just feel like you're living in this vacuum." Larsen said of her time living in the Scandinavian countries.

To start off her presentation, she shared a video she created during her experiences.

"I'm not a Sami storyteller, but I'm telling of my experience." Larsen said while speaking of her time with the Sami Reindeer Herders.

Focusing her time on sensitive cultural issues, Larsen chronicled the Sami way of life through her photo presentation.

Her photographs told the story of a family she lived with during her stay. From daily duties as herders, to family life and social events, Larsen grew to truly appreciate and love the Sami as she became an accepted member of their tribe.

In the past, the series has been host to renowned photographers such as National Geographic's Stephen James O'Meara, Karen Kasmauski, and landscape photographer Clyde Butcher.

Both the Annenberg Space and the IRIS Nights Lecture Series are free. These events can inspire, explore and challenge the mind.

To learn more about The Annenberg Space for Photography and to get a schedule, you can find more information at their website, www.annenbergspaceforphotography.org/.