Space and Place:Past and Present

Echoes Of Lofoten:Hebe Robinson

“Around 1950, families in small and remote fishing villages in Lofoten, Northern Norway, were offered a lump sum from the Government to leave their homes and relocate to more central places. They also committed never to return and resettle. 

This was part of the governmental plan to centralize and modernize the nation after the Second World War. Communities that had survived for centuries in a hostile environment on the border between steep mountains and rough sea, totally isolated during the winter months, collectively decided to leave. 

Neighbors and friends through generations packed everything they owned and left their homes and each other. Villages were totally abandoned within months. Due to shortage of building materials, they dismantled their houses and brought their homes with them as well, leaving only foundations. The traditional self-sufficient ways of life were lost, and a part of the coastal culture with it.

Today, 60 years later, nature has reclaimed the areas. Looking closer however, signs of lived lives still remain; stone fences and foundations still stand, surrounded by hidden paths and traces of gardens with herbs and flowers.

In this photographic project, I am bringing families and their lives back to the villages they once lived. Historic photographs from these places are returned to where they once were taken, linking past and present. The project is about passing of time, history, destinies and changes in society. Pictures and their histories are from descendants of those in the pictures.”

— Hebe Robinson


Edle, Anne and Fredrik were the last generation growing up in Hermannsdalen. From November until April the family lived completely isolated. When Edle was eight years old, her grandfather took her and her sister Anne to the top of the mountain. From there, they could look down on their neighbors in the village Vinstad. She had never seen other houses before.

lofoten_3The wood gathering party poses for a group photograph.lofoten_4

Johan Kristian Alfred Nilsen married Hanna Sofie Petersdatter. They had seven children and a foster son. Kristian was killed in 1944 by a mine that had been washed ashore by a storm. He was standing outside his house when it exploded. Three days before the accident, he wrote a letter to his daughter where he praised God for having such patience and not punishing them for their sins, but protecting them from accidents and illness.

This photographer inspired me due to the context in which she has photographed and found people who occupied it before, the narrative behind these images are very strong, they show people in spaces past and present and how things can change over time. I have a fascination with historical photographs and much of what i do, is revolved around looking into the past in photograph. It helps shape my identity and others and provides a story to familiar spaces I have explored or would like to explore. This is something I would like to achieve in a career  looking at past and present in archived photographs and modern photographs to show the changing landscape and changing cultures and people.


Last accessed 23/04/2013 at 16:00: : © 2013 Lens Culture and individual contributors. All rights reserved.


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