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Lone Men’s Land

In her book “Atlantic Cowboy”, Andrea Gjestvang documents the shortage of women in the Faroe Island, focusing on men leading a traditional way of life, in a society that is quickly changing.

The Faroe Islands are a Danish archipelago located halfway between Norway and Iceland. In a society led and populated by men at the “geographical and social periphery”, Andrea Gjestvang worked with fishermen, hunters and other workers in the smallest communities she found, frequently left by women who tend to study and train for jobs in Copenhagen or abroad. The deficit is 10% among women of reproductive age.

Rogni (26) and Odin (25) in the hot tub at around midnight in Mykines, the westernmost island in the Faroes. The island has between five and ten permanent inhabitants, but it is invaded each summer by tourists eager to experience its unique birdlife.

Hjalmar, his shirt stained with blood during sheep slaughtering on a farm in Kaldbaksbotnur.

Interior from a carpentry workshop in the capital Tórshavn.

Fróði rests on a slaughtered whale during a grindadráp in Hvannasund, Faroe Islands. Grindadráp, the pilot whale hunt, is a tradition and part of the Faroese cultural identity. When fishing was poor, as in the 1930s, the pilot whale was what saved people from famine. Nowadays, whales are no longer part of the staple diet.

Andrias (54) with his little white pet kitten outside his home, which he shares with his mother in Vidareidi. As a young man, Andrias went to Denmark to study to become a teacher, because his mother forbade him to go fishing. But after a few years he came home and bought his own boat.

The trend of men preserving traditional roles and identities while climate and society change around them is common to rural areas across the world. In the photographer’s work, the breathtaking, ruthless landscape that compares to the harshness of human labor puts an accent on the extreme case of the Faroe Island, home to just 54,000 people.

View of the small town Vidareidi, which is the northernmost settlement in the Faroe Islands on the island Vidoy. The houses are spread out over the evergreen valley, protected by high mountains on two sides.

Aadne and Jóannes (52) together in their childhood home in Klaksvík. They are twin brothers and both unmarried. ''I prayed to God that I would find a wife'', says Jóannes, ''Maybe he didn't hear me.’'

People gather at a temporary amusement park on the harbour in Vágur in the south of the Faroe Islands, during the Joansoeka midsummer festival

A young boy looks out of a window while travelling on the ferry that takes passengers between the capital Torshavn and the southernmost island Suduroy.

The Book “Atlantic Cowboy” is published by GOST and available at the price of £40.00.

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