Line Ørnes Søndergaard was educated in photojournalism at Oslo University College. In recent years, she has worked for a number of media, including Politiken, the financial daily Dagens Næringsliv and Klassekampen. She has also taken part in the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass.
“Europe is struggling. How does that feel for a European, and who is he, really? The Europe of today does not reflect the ideas of freedom and equal opportunity envisaged just after the turn of the millennium. Quite to the contrary, the Continent is characterised by uncertainty and growing disparity among its residents. What does that do to a society and to the individuals in it? And what does that do to the European mentality of solidarity?”, asks Søndergaard in her project description.
Europe is currently in flux, and Line is planning a trip to consider today’s Europe and European. A Europe that does not seem to demonstrate equality and solidarity in the way the Eastern Bloc hoped in 2004, but quite the opposite: greater distance and more differences.
“The joint project that the EU was intended to be is breaking down. In a time of ‘crisis’, the differences between the member countries have become clearer. The financial crisis delineated the differences between north and south, as well as the refugee crisis between east and west. The EU Member States, on the other hand, share the fact that the differences between groups in society are growing wider. Here too, at home in our ‘slightly peripheral’ Norway”, writes Søndergaard.
Based on the hypothesis that Europe’s greatest challenges today and in the years ahead stem from a growing degree of social and financial disparity, she is embarking on a two-year Inter-rail journey. Her train will stop at central facets of Europe’s shared challenges and examine them from different geographic perspectives. It will also stop at important news items, such as the fateful elections in Germany, France and The Netherlands.
“So, to point out the obvious; I am currently engaged in the humble project of making my own little version of Bresson’s ‘Europeans’. That is why I wanted to refer to him. Without making any other comparisons. While Bresson’s Europe was post-War, I see mine as pre-collapse. Perhaps. We nevertheless share some of the same goals. Like him, I will also try to look past nationalism, seeking a common human experience and a kind of unified European identity – amid all this inequality.”