ONE PHOTO - ONE STORY

09.08.2017

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Terje Abusdal is the recipient of this year’s Leica Oskar Barnack Award for his Slash & Burn series. For his atmospheric, suggestively mystical series, the Norwegian photographer set off in search of the Forest Finns, a nature-bound ethnic group in Norway. For this picture he spent what seemed like an endless winter’s night in the middle of a forest.

“This picture was taken on the border between Norway and Sweden, about a good hour’s walk uphill from the road where I had parked my car. The clearing in the forest, which you see in the middle, runs along the entire 1630km border. It was in November and the first snow had arrived. I had planned to take the image around midnight, as the position of the moon at that time would light the scene perfectly. Unfortunately, there was a heavy fog when I got there and I had no choice but to wait for conditions to improve.

The night was cold, about minus ten degrees, accompanied by a ruthless wind; I wasn’t sure how long I wanted to hang around for. What’s more, this area has wolves and I was there alone. They are no danger to people, but your mind starts playing tricks on you in the forest at night, especially when you have nothing to do but stand around. So from time to time I screamed out a loud ‘Hello!’. You know, just in case.

I was about to call it a night when the fog finally lifted and I was able to take this frame. In the series on the Forest Finns, which includes this picture, I have used certain elements of their cultural heritage in order to visualize the past. In this case I used fire wandering west from Sweden into Norway, playing on their history of slash-and-burn farming and the fact that this was the way they migrated into this area.”

You can see all the pictures in the award-winning series by Terje Abusdal at Leica Oskar Barnack Award.
© Marie Sjøvold

Terje Abusdal

Born in Evje, Norway, in 1978, the photographer works mainly on independent projects in the intersection between fact and fiction. In 2014 he studied Advanced Visual Storytelling at the Danish School of Media and Journalism in Aarhus, followed by a number of Master Classes with Simon Norfolk and Aaron Schuman. In 2015, Journal Forlag published his first photographic book, Radius 500 Meters. Appearing in a number of solo and group exhibitions, his work is largely focussed on questions of identity and belonging. Abusdal lives in Oslo. 

www.terjeabusdal.com
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