My first encounters with the Finno-Ugric peoples were back in 2012, when as a student of traditional folk music I journeyed to Ingria. Janika Oras, my lecturer during the time in the Music Academy brought me and my fellow students along for a field assignment deep into the tribes to discover and record keepers of age-old folk songs.
As a young and inexperienced student this broadened my scope of the world into new domains and planted a seed of folk music, that continued to grow each year when I kept on going back to the expeditions. During these outings my task was to shoot photos and capture the songs and vibrations while holding the microphone in front of their mouths and being entirely still. I believe these trips were the beginning of my love of photography. The sense of travelling back in time made me realise what sort of treasure I had stumbled upon.
I was surrounded by wonderfully unique people, felt the immediacy of their everyday life, travelled from village to village, one more spectacular than the other, shared hearty laughs in thrilling moments we found ourselves in and felt the weight of cultures that are fading away. I still feel those powerful emotions when I am reunited with the people
through photos or recordings.
As a hobbyist of photography what I enjoy most is capturing people and this is my main focus while putting together the exhibition. During these six years I have made my way to the people of Votia and the Izhorians in Ingria, travelled in Karelia, Mordovia and Northern-Udmurtia. I hope this is just the beginning!
The materials used at the exhibition are available at the Estonian Literary Museum Folklore Archives and are collected between 2012-2017.
My greatest thanks to Janika Oras, Žanna Pärtlas, Kaupo Kikkas, Tarmo Rämmi (Digifoto), Estonian Literary Museum Folklore Archives, Tribespeople Program, Eesti Kultuurkapital, Eesti Pärimusmuusika Keskus, Fenno-Ugria, all my lovely travelmates, friends and family!
Karoliina Kreintaal (born 1988. in Vaida) is an interpret and lecturer of folk music, plays in musical groups Tintura, Torupilli Jussi Trio, teaches traditional violin and folk music both in University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy and in Estonian Academy of Music and Theater.