"THE HULDRA" - PHOTOGRAPHY BOOK (2021)
"THE HULDRA" - PHOTOGRAPHY BOOK
Spring 2018, I finally pursued my original huldra project. The idea emerged back in 2008, but at that time I very much doubted that anyone - not over at 100 at least - would wish to be a part of this project. So instead, I pursued the huldra in the feature film format, with "Thale" (2013).
And you'd think that would shake her off - that I'd be rid the huldra-fascination and move on. But, the old words proved true: Once she gets hold of you, she won't let go. So years later, our most beloved and feared creature in the Norwegian folklore, grabbed ahold yet again. First with my short film "Heim" (2017), then now - with my third and final huldra-project, a 500-paged photography book, titled, well, "The Huldra".
The project is still in the works, and the book isn't due until summer 2021, but if you want to stay updated on the process and project up to release, be sure to follow the project's Facebook and Instagram. And/or; sign up for the newsletter!
"THANK YOU FOR SEEING ME."
I set out to make a photography book portraying the folklore creature herself, in all kinds of traditional and modern setting. The old folklore stories and creatures have always fascinated me, and the huldra in particular - perhaps because she's the most complex of them all, being quite similiar to us humans. And that very human essence turned this project into something more than just fiction.
Over 100 local models within the small region of Helgeland have signed on for this project - something I find both impressive and terrifying. Impressed by the will, and terrified of the trust given to me. 'Cause none of the models are payed. They're all part of the project for different reasons, ranging from why-the-hell-not to getting past personal issues and traumas; shattered body image, eating disorders, self-harm and abuse.
So yes, there's a lot of nakedness in this book. To-the-core kind of nakedness. Which I wasn't really prepared for and truly found unsettling at first. Like, how do you go about a nude shoot with someone you know has a rough backstory, well aware that taking part in this parcticular shoot is a major milestone for them? What if you don't make it a positive experience for them, and what if you screw up the focus or whatnot so the pictures turn out unusable? I'm truly no experienced photographer or documentarist, so I suddenly found myself being the one getting nervous for the shoots.
But after one of the early shoots, I sent the model some sample picture and got the following message in return: "Takk for at du ser meg." / Thank you for seeing me." I didn't think too much of it at first, I was just happy that the model was happy with the outcome of the shoot. But that strain of text kept knocking in the back of my mind, then gradually became sort of an eye-opener. Not only to how to go about the shoots, but to what this project truly was. We all need to be seen - for who we are, not necessarily were.
So the combo of that raw, natural and powerful creature that the huldra is, and all these authentic, badass North-Norwegian women portraying her, and themselves - side by side through 500 pages - well, that's gonna be one heavy, heartfelt and wholesome book. And I can say that because it's truly not to my credit :)
I'm slowly but surely watching this book come together as a whole - with hundreds of photos plastered up on my walls, and still hundreds to go. And with each single one, I grow more and more humble, honored - and still somewhat terrfified - having the huldra's trust.