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Folklig Idrott.
Photographs by Maximilian Stejskal. Edited by Marie-Isabel Vogel & Alain Rappaport.
Edition Patrick Frey, Zürich, Switzerland, 2016. 120 pp., black-and-white illustrations, 9½x13¾".
 
Selected as one of the Best Books of 2016 by:
Publisher's Description

Second printing.

Maximilian Stejskal (1906–1991), an ethnologist and gymnastics teacher from Helsinki, carried out a study for his PhD thesis on “folk athletic” contests amongst Finland’s Swedish-speaking male rural population between 1929 and 1937, and then again in 1948. Each year, Stejskal set off on his green Italian bicycle with two bellows cameras and glass photographic plates in a rucksack across southeastern Finland and Finnish Estonia. He systematically collected images of fast-disappearing “folk athletics,” recording elderly farmers’ and craftsmen’s tales of the exercises and tests of strength and courage with which they proved their virility in their youth. Their sons, relatives and farmhands were asked to perform the exercises in front of Stejskal’s camera. This slender, oversized publication includes a selection of these bizarre and often humorous images, enlarged and reproduced as full bleeds with titles such as “Crawling away from your sins” and “Upend the apprentice,” making this a source book of strangely compelling performative imagery. With texts by Maximilian Stejskal, Marie-Isabel Vogel and Alain Rappaport in English and Swedish.


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