2020 Nera di Verzasca Prize - Verzasca Foto Awards
Rjukan, a village at the bottom of a Norwegian valley, whose atmosphere and social life have been disrupted by the installation of mirrors reflecting the sunlight
SOLSPEILET was born of a news, that of a lifeguard who installed a heliostat (process allowing to follow the course of the sun, in order to direct its rays towards a precise point using mirrors) at the top of a mountain, to return the sunlight to the center of his village.
From this intention arose strong resistance. Accustomed to living without the sun, most of the locals were against such a change. Strong in his convictions and persuaded to bring something to the community, Martin Andersen took years to convince the municipality of the merits of the project.
Since then, when the sky is clear, the luminous halo emits an impressive force of attraction. Despite the initial rigidity, the users eventually got used to the phenomenon. The attraction remains and new relationships with the place have been created. Urban strolls and collective interactions therefore converge through light.
Rjukan, an ancient industrial city in the Norwegian hinterland, is surrounded by a valley where sunlight does not penetrate for half the year.The star not rising high enough to pass the top of one of the mountains enclosing the small town.
I immerse myself in the landscape of Rjukan. A village at the bottom of a valley where the atmosphere and the social environment have been disrupted. I pay particular attention to the unspectacular and silent forms, to their visible or invisible tensions and to their own logic which are inscribed away from us. This work is the portrait of a place with a geography and a contrasting history, it also brings us to observe what does not change or little in these territories whose fatalism sometimes eludes us. Solspeilet attempts to draw documentary photography from the side of strangeness by questioning what is at work.