With more than one thousand guests in attendance, the exhibition Norwegian Documentary Photography opened at the Henie Onstad Art Centre on Thursday evening.

Thirty-five photographers have been featured in the four editions of ‘The Norwegian Journal of Photography’. The Henie Onstad Art Centre is now showing a selection of the works of all these photographers, totalling more than 250 photos. The exhibition has been made possible through cooperation with Fritt Ord. The opening of the exhibition also marked the launch of the 4th in the series of NJP books.

“This exhibition elevates documentary photography to an art form, at the same time as art photography melds with documentarism. This has always been one of NJP’s ambitions”, remarks Rune Eraker, who, along with Laara Matsen and Espen Rasmussen, has been co-editor of ‘The Norwegian Journal of Photography’. 

He points out further that documentary photography goes far beyond making an objective record.

“Photography invariably involves a subjective approach. We have always known that to be the case, even in purely documentary photographs. This exhibition celebrates that fact. At the same time, it shows that staged and personal photographs have an equally significant and important documentary effect as photos that are strictly documentary”, adds Eraker. 

“Photography invariably involves a subjective approach.”

Rune Eraker, editor NJP

The exhibition is divided into four segments. Close: indicating the intimate, personal, subjective type of documentary photography. North: consisting of several projects that address the idea and the concept of the North. For example, ways of life, tendencies and all aspects of life in Norway and other Nordic countries. Europe: especially with a view to questions about European identity. And lastly, Communities: offering a visual survey of different ways of life. 

“Seeing all of this gathered here at Henie Onstad is overwhelming and impressive. There is an epic dimension to the exhibition; it is so multi-faceted and there are a multitude of strong voices in dialogue with each other, visually speaking”, comments Jonas Bendiksen to The Journalist. He is one of the 35 photographers being shown at Henie Onstad. 

At the opening ceremony, Gerry Badger emphasised the importance of the subjective in photography. The highly respected British curator, author and photographer has also written the introduction to the 4th edition of NJP.

“Documentary photography involves telling the story of the time in which we live and how one, as a photographer, relates to the world and our history. The best photographers link the stories being told in their photographs to themselves and to what they have on their minds and in their hearts. This exhibition shows what documentary photography can be”, observed Badger at the opening ceremony on Thursday. 

The exhibition at the Henie Onstad Art Centre has received a lot of publicity lately. In Stavanger Aftenblad, you can read about NJP photographer Tommy Ellingsen, while the trade journal The Journalist has interviewed MonicaStrømdahl, among others. D2, the magasine section of the financial daily Dagens Næringsliv, discusses the exhibition and interviews Curator Susanne Østby Særther, while NRK Nyhetsmorgen presented the exhibition in its broadcast on Thursday.

The 35 photographers being featured by the exhibition are:

Terje Abusdal, Paul S. Amundsen, Morten Andersen, Oddleiv Apneseth, Jonas Bendiksen, Linda Bournane Engelberth, Eirik Brekke, Tonje Bøe Birkeland, Tomm W. Christiansen, Margaret M. de Lange, Tommy Ellingsen, Andrea Gjestvang, Katinka Goldberg, Damian Michał Heinisch, Elin Høyland, Camilla Jensen, Anne-Stine Johnsbråten, Ellen Lande Gossner, Ivar Kvaal, Monica Larsen Vegstein, Kyrre Lien, Eivind H. Natvig, Karin Beate Nøsterud, Mathilde Helene Pettersen, Therese Alice Sanne, Ulla Schildt, Rebecca Shirin Jafari, Marie Sjøvold, Helge Skodvin, Monica Strømdahl Fred Ivar Utsi Klemetsen, Ingvild Vaale Arnesen, Knut Egil Wang, Adrian Øhrn Johansen and Line Ørnes Søndergaard.