Paul Sigve Amundsen has an graduate degree in social science from the University of Bergen. Since 2004, he has worked as a freelance photographer for Bergens Tidende and for most other major Norwegian newspapers and publications.
He has published two photo books and has received a number of prizes for his projects in Picture of the Year competitions.
Amundsen writes the following about the project he will be working on for The Norwegian Journal of Photography: Europe, a portrait:
“Actually, this is an impossible project. Portraying Europe with a camera.” The task is, of course, daunting. There are 700 million Europeans. The Continent covers an area of 10 million km2. And the whole thing is supposed to be done by a man (40) with an analogue large format camera from 1969. Naturally, it makes no sense, so it is bound to be a failure.”
All the same, he is doing his best and an ambitious project is taking shape. The photographer has already done a tremendous amount of work, visiting 22 European countries since spring 2015. A great deal has been written and said about Europe in recent years. There is a lot of talk about crises. About migrants on the run. About Euroscepticism and Brexit.
In March 2015, Amundsen drove to Greece all by himself to document everyday life in Europe. The journey marked the start of the photo project. On the way to Greece, he also took photos with an analogue large format camera from 1969. Over the next three weeks of the trip, Amundsen took photos of places and people in 15 countries.
“The idea was slightly megalomaniacal and bombastic: Travel around Europe. Photograph people and landscapes using a timeless, classic and somewhat old-fashioned mode of expression. Using film and the whole nine yards. A little like Anders Beer Wilse and Knud Knudsen, just one hundred years later”, he remarks in his project description.
Paul Sigve Amundsen has worked hard to build up a project with a sound sense of cohesiveness in terms of the narrative and visuals alike. In addition, he has tried to extricate himself from traditional photojournalism. He does portraits of people in all the countries he visits. Moreover, Amundsen takes landscape pictures, preferably of places that have and have had a profound impact on modern European history. The landscape photos are fragments of European history, representing the past. The portraits of Europe’s younger generation represent the present and the future.
“NJP offers a good opportunity for moving the project another step forward. Perhaps even finishing it, even though I actually want it to go on and on. Photographing people in general and people in Europe in particular has been the finest thing I’ve ever done. I could keep doing it for years. However, perhaps it is time to put on the brakes. You decide”, says Amundsen.