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northern territory

Sonja Martinsson Uppman
from the Association
northern lights

When the five countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden were invited by several of Normandy's prestigious museums and exhibition venues to present a selection of work by native contemporary photographers, it obviously represented what would be quite an undertaking.
What could be laid on for visitors, not only as an introduction to Scandinavian/Nordic culture, but also to whet the appetite for a future, even ongoing, cultural partnership? Such an exchange could delve deeper into photography, as well as other cultural fields, could investigate the increasingly important question of the environment, even tourism.
One thing is certain, the Nordic peoples have an enduring love of nature: an eternal symbol of liberty, of boundlessness, an ever-familiar yet mysterious presence. The struggle to survive and even to thrive in such a harsh, sometimes Arctic, climate has shaped and characterized the people of these lands and also given rise to numerous innovations (whose abundance is well documented).
Nature is captured in one sense or another in the work of all of the photographers involved in this project. It can be considered as the pursuit of an absolute purity, or the desire to capture a fixed - frozen - image to consciously illustrate an ecological or political statement.
Photography is “a major art expression” in Nordic countries, a modern expression which heeds the past while taking into account a present which is more and more troubling - in a similar way to the arts throughout history - marking a point of reference in an ever -uncertain future.
Visitors to the exhibitions, less weighed down by these concerns and more used to the opulent, seductive, and more easily loved, beauty of Normandy, will they take the time to look for - and find - an affinity with the Nordic photographers?

Sonja Martinsson Uppman

President, the Nordic Lights Association

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