For The House in the Woods, photographer Kai Fagerström captured magical communities of wild animals living in abandoned cottages surrounding his summer house in idyllic Suomusjärvi, Finland. After residents had moved or passed away, he noticed that the houses fell into disrepair, and amazingly, small paw-prints dotted the dusty interior surfaces. Through the broken windows and across the chipped walls, scurried foxes, red squirrels, owls, voles, and badgers, who had dug tunnels beneath a fireplace. Waiting for hours to catch a glimpse of the little creatures, the photographer stealthily tossed peanuts to tempt them into his frame.
Fagerström views his unlikely neighbors as a potent reminder that all will be reclaimed by the wild, that we humans merely rent the precious spots of land that nature allows us. Here, hope permeates throughout the decrepit, unclaimed houses in the form of little beasts, who bring with them little spots of light that illuminate a melancholy interior. Starting and stopping at the unexpected human gaze, their bodies seem to quiver with an irresistible curiosity, breathing new life into what is decayed and forgotten. In this fairytale setting, Fagerström’s dog, greyed with age, perks up as a small pup, utterly enchanted by the critters who scamper this way and that.
All images © Kai Fagerström
via Cat in Water