Stepping Through the Screen: Virtual Lapland becomes Reality

Here’s a great little story. Photographer Eric Franceschi, while researching an assignment in Finland, comes across one of the countless webcams found on online today. This particular one featured the main street in central Rovaniemi, a small town in Finnish Lapland.

Franceschi slowly becomes obsessed with the webcam and its constantly updating shot of a lonely Lapland boulevard where very little happens. Franceschi is based in Marseilles, France where the streets are crowded and the weather hot. Every day he’d escape online to check out what has happening on the other side of Europe, a place he’d never been to.

Over time, “the serenity becomes to seductive to resist” and he steps through the computer screen and finds himself on the other side of the camera (okay, he flew, but you get the idea).

Suddenly Franceschi is in a place that is “immediately familiar,” yet one which he knows very little about. He discovers that the little booth he thought was a hot dog stand actually sells ice cream; the side of the street where cars seemed to always be parked is the site of an ATM machine.

But most importantly, Franceschi learns he can do what he couldn’t do online: walk around the corner. His virtual world was a mere snapshot, an alluring one which drew him across Europe to visit and explore, but a snapshot nonetheless.

Check out his charming story here.

And do yourself a favor, pick a webcam, fall in love with a place, and go and visit.