Photojournalists traditionally travel far away from home to tell stories about exotic cultures far from their own reality. Moment's photographers now wish to turn their gaze in the opposite direction: to our own home countries, in order to explore our own and familiar environment. Coinciding with Moment's 10-year anniversary we are planning a sort of road trip through Scandinavia, where the journey is a goal in itself and our ambition is to document Scandinavian identity today. The “road trip” has a mythical place in art and popular culture, shaped by literature, cinema and music. The car has become a symbol of freedom, and the trip a formative journey. In order to address the strain on our environment that the classic road trip requires by burning fossil fuels, we want to travel by a more environmentally friendly means of transportation: The train.
By taking to the road on the train, we want to find out what stories hide in the towns passing by outside the train window. We want to stop, get off, meet people and ask them about their dreams, joys and sorrows. Who are they? Who are we Scandinavians?
The individual stories
Each of Moment's eleven photographers will choose a theme or particular story they want to explore during the trip. All of these individual stories will together constitute the group project “Scandinavian Moments”:
“Blonde” by Elin Berge:
Scandinavian women are admired worldwide for their beauty and independence - while at the same time often being branded as promiscuous and naive. By portraying blonde women she meets along the way, Elin Berge wants to challenge the spectator's view of Scandinavian women.
“Country of Happiness?” by Andrea Gjestvang
For ten straight years, Norway has been on top of the UN's Human Development Index. In 2011 Sweden was on 10th place. Denmark ranks high in surveys of overall satisfaction with life. At the same time Norway tops the statistic of antidepressant use in European countries. The number of youth on welfare is rising, and psychiatric problems are prominent among them. How is it to feel as a failure and be excluded in the world's “best country”?
“The summer night” by Chris Maluszynski
A common trait for all Scandinavians is how our lives, habits, traditions and culture are affected by daylight and its changes with the seasons. The yearning for light and the romanticized notion of the summer night brings life to people and places during the summer's short nights. Chris Maluszynski wants to document life in Scandinavia during the year's brightest and shortest nights.
“Rockabilly - a 50's dream” by Åsa Sjöström
The urban focus of pop culture often looks past society on the outskirts. And these outskirts or countryside is often where subcultures evolve. The American Rockabilly-style is widely spread in Scandinavia, and especially in Sweden. In spite of the fact that many more women than men adapt rockabilly culture the housewife-ideal still persists side by side with the pinup girls. Åsa Sjöström wants to make a photographic journey into the 50's dream in 2012.
“Selling a country” by Johan Bävman
What sells Scandinavia outside its borders? Johan Bävman wants to study the discrepancy between the wild and beautiful image of Scandinavia that is used in marketing worldwide and the very “touristified” version that visitors often end up experiencing.
“Group portraits” by Oddleiv Apneseth
Oddleiv Apneseth plans a hunt for Scandinavian landscapes and groups of people that constitute a study of social structures and “reality based absurdities”.
“The spare time people” by Knut Egil Wang
Norway has Europe’s shortest workweek. What do we do with all our spare time? Are there differences between the Scandinavian countries? Knut Egil Wang undertakes a curious visual study of Scandinavian spare time activities.
“The new Scandinavians” by Joakim Roos
The Scandinavian societies are built around democratic principles. We consider ourselves to be free of prejudice and tolerant - an enlightened society. Joakim Roos wants to explore how refugees and immigrants experience Scandinavian openness.
“Public space” by Eivind H Natvig
Scandinavian countries are frontrunners when it comes to freedom of speech. Still we are experiencing increased control and a number of prohibitions when it comes to photography in public spaces. Eivind H Natvig wants to study the boundaries between public and private spaces.
“The disappearing farming culture” by Thomas Lekfeldt
In all Scandinavian countries, farming has developed into an industry where cattle, chicken and pigs are raised in environments resembling factories. The industrial farms become larger and fewer, while small farmers are disappearing. At the same time consumers are becoming more aware of locally produced and ecological produce. Thomas Lekfeldt will document the remaining traditional small farms and the people who live and work there.
“Scandinavia's new landscape” by Pieter Ten Hoopen
During the 1990's the landscapes of Norway, Sweden and Denmark underwent a gradual transformation. Shopping malls started appearing in the outskirts of cities and towns - often in vicinity of nature. Big commercial areas were created where consumers could get everything they needed in once place. Pieter Ten Hoopen will document these commercial complexes, their architecture and impact on nature and the cultural landscape.
Execution of the project
The train journey - around 5000km in total will go from Narvik, through Sweden, over the Øresund bridge to Denmark's southernmost point. From Stockholm the trip will go all the way to Bodø in Norway. During the second half of June 2012, Moment's eleven photographers will travel along these stretches of railroad. Together or alone, and everyone will decide where to stop and get off to work on their stories. The idea is to meet again on the train so the journey also becomes a social experiment where the photographers interact and can discuss their individual stories. We will travel through the same environment, but looking at it from eleven different viewpoints.
The finished project
It is paramount that this project is highly visible, both during the process and when all the stories are finished. The public will be taken along on the trip, by way of a web based travel log that will be updated along the way. It will be in the form of a travel diary where stories of meetings and experiences will be presented to the public.
The finished project would initially be exhibited in public spaces in the three Scandinavian countries, and published as a book. It will consist of eleven very different stories, held together geographically by 5000km of train tracks.