THE TWELFTH NIGHT
With his photo series The Twelfth Night, Italian photographer Emanuele Camerini (1987) visualized a popular legend from Kalsoy (Faroe Islands), which he discovered during his study in Denmark. It is believed that once a year, on the twelfth night after Christmas, seals come ashore, shed off their animal skins and transform into beautiful human beings, who gather on the beach to dance the night away. Before the sun rises, they have to put their seal skins back on to be able to return to the sea. One night, a farmer came across the seal women dancing and fell in love with one of them. He stole her seal skin so she could not return to the sea, and brought her to his home. He locked the skin in a chest and would always carry the key at a chain around his neck. They had children and led the life of a married couple, but one day, while out fishing, the man realized he had forgotten the chain with the key. When he went back home, the seal woman was gone and never seen again. The people of the Faroe Islands still believe that people who are born with webbed toes are descendants of the seal woman’s family.
In The Twelfth Night, Camerini photographs a series of images referring to the legend, exploring love and fear, and the ideas of creating a new identity away from one’s native experience, but also about longing to return home. Camerini draws the viewer into the story in a magical, mysterious mood, playing with the contrast between light and dark and capturing the obscure, foggy landscape of Kalsoy.