This project is comprised of portraits of old, abandoned houses along the coast of Northern Norway and Iceland. Eventually they will be joined by lonely houses from Svalbard and Northern Canada. A work in progress since 2006.
These buildings share a common cultural heritage, and the reasons for abandonment are very similar. The way of living in these areas have changed radically during the last decades, with a corresponding population decrease. Mainly due to changes in fisheries, demographics as well as general centralization of industries and other services.
Through these photographs I attempt to convey the soul of these houses and the memory of a culture. I also hope that the viewer will find layers of meaning in them. These buildings serve as a strong remainder of one's own mortality.
I also find that each house has its own personality - some are right out depressing or melancholic, others are charming, inspirational or optimistic despite the fact that they are well on their way back to nature. Some, if not all, have a very strong graphic appeal.
In this project I have put effort into selecting photographs which can stand alone and also work well together as a whole.
For every house I discover, given that it appeals to my emotions in some way, I always try to gather as much background information on the building as possible. For instance who lived there, their history and the reasons for abandonment - usually by getting in touch with some older locals, hopefully accompanied with some coffee. I remember one such encounter in Lofoten better than others. After a long visit this charming, elderly fellow summarized my project in one short sentence: "houses need people, and people need their house." (Norwegian proverb).