Karl Henrik Edlund: Eden

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From the veranda I watch the horned grebe with its bright red eyes and yellow-orange tufts diving rapidly into the water. I wait and wait for it to reappear, often where I least expect it.

Sea surrounds the island, one of more than 6,700 in the Åland archipelago. The island’s solid bedrock with striations, veins and crevices, shaped by time.

The place was once rugged; full of scraggy pines, junipers and tall, wild grass. Grandfather cleared and planted broadleaved trees from nearby islets. He constructed a garden with herbs, berry bushes and fruit trees. On the shore he cast a concrete seal.

He called the place Eden, after the biblical paradise, and our surname.

At first it was difficult to get here, you had to wade across the sound. There are photos from when I was little, sitting on my dad’s shoulders as he made the crossing. The sound was later filled in and became an embankment. When I walk along it now, carrying my first-born daughter in my arms, I think about the road being lined with flowers I cannot name.

The stone that my grandfather selected to be his headstone, was leaning against an alder on the shore. When he died two years ago, the stone was moved to finally fulfil the task he had given it. It was heavy and unwieldy, and it wasn’t easy to move it from the shore. Dad filmed himself when he wrestled it across the meadow and up the hill. He declares in the film: “thirty meters left, ten metres left...” The stone leaves tracks in the grass.

/ Karl Henrik Edlund

Shortlisted for Fotofabbrica Prize at Diecixdieci Festival of Contemporary Photography 2022.

59 b/w and color images • Editing and design: Karl Henrik Edlund, Gösta Flemming • Translation to English: Maria Morris  • Hard cover • 200 x 260 mm • 112 pages • Swedish/English • Final art: Johan Lindberg • Prepress and printing: Narayana Press • ISBN 978-91-87939-67-9 • 2022