A clear voice and a photographer who has made remarkable progress in the past few years. Gjestvang has a distinctive style: clean and simple, but evocative images featuring powerful moments and fine portraits.
Her method of constructing series/reports is coherent and convincing. She has already started on this interesting project. The NJP editorial staff believes that the photographer is involved in a project that has an important story to tell, which will continue to challenge and further develop the photographer.
Excerpt from project description:
Everybody Knows This is Nowhere
At the top of the map of Norway, surrounded by the Barents Sea, bordering on Finland and Russia, lies the area of Norway known as Øst-Finnmark. Depopulation and a lack of jobs are threatening the very existence of many small communities in this part of our country. The privatisation of the fishing industry in the 1970s left some parts of the area in a sort of vacuum: abandoned fishing villages, empty houses and unemployment are facts of life.
The young people of Øst-Finnmark represent the future, and at an early age they must decide whether to remain in their place of origin, or leave their homes. Teenagers face challenges different from those facing teenagers in the rest of the country. They have the same input from pop culture as other teenagers in the Western world, but they are very far away from where it is all happening. Their lives take place in extreme surroundings, and are strongly influenced by untamed nature, immense distances, the Arctic night and the midnight sun.
While the project depicts the social challenges associated with depopulation and the local community versus globalisation, the artistic aspect focuses on portraying and conveying the feelings this generates among the young people who live in these areas. I want to capture the tension between their interests and dreams, and the reality surrounding them: their thoughts about the future, their desire to explore the world, and the bonds that tie them to their homes and families.