Maria Presto, born 1976, is a Bergen-based photographer whose projects often reside in the realms between figuration and abstraction, between reality and dreams. In this regard her approach to photography is more similar to that of a painter. She also frequently collaborates with painter Marie Storaas as the artist duo “P.S”. Her passion for photography has followed her all the way through childhood, youth and her nine years of academic education. The camera has become her way of studying human behaviour and exploring different identities.
Her work has been exhibited in galleries and festivals; Banksmidja Galleri (Voss), Hydrogenfabrikken Kunsthall (Fredrikstad), Hardanger Musikkfest (Lofthus), B-Open (Bergen) and the old Astrup Fearnley Museet (Oslo) among others. March 2016 she is having her first solo show at Galleri Ramfjord (Oslo).
Photographer Marianne Bjørnmyr, born 1986, lives and works in London, where she received her MA in Photography from London College of Communication in 2012. Her photographic practice is concerned around our perception of the photograph’s approach to reality; through her research she explores the phenomena of myth, and the photograph’s role in conveying objects and surroundings is set up against our understanding, interpretation and generated perception of imagery.
Marianne’s work has previously been exhibited internationally in galleries like the Foto8 Gallery, The Royal Shakespeare Company, Galleri Ramfjord and The AOP gallery, and she has earlier been awarded the Daniel Blau’s 5 under 30, First Prize at Juvenarte and the Jansons Scholarship amongst others.
This lovely photo is one from a whole series of photos by Marianne Bjørnmyrs is extra special to us Scandinavians and especially to all Norwegians where they are shoot. Mariannes photos reminds us of our beautiful heritage but also about how poorly preserved these traditions has been maintained by our state.
In these photos Bjørnmyr depicts the society of Coast Sami people in Northern Norway. With her photos we are allowed in to the everyday life of a society working to resore a culture nearly lost because of interference from the the Norwegian Government for decades. The photographs beautifully present the sami culture, and at the same time the brutality of the memories and struggle they are left with.
The Coast-Sami people have inhabited the coast of Northern Norway for thousands of years and have had a strong culture and traditions. In the mid 1800´s a modernisation and local expansion developed in the Coast-Sami culture, led by the Norwegian government. There was an interpretation and assumption of the Sami society as less ‘intelligent’ group that made the Norwegian state start working towards a ‘revolution’. This so called revolution or in other words ‘Norwegifying period’ continued for more than a 100 years. The government started controlling school systems and the everyday life by use of Social Darwinistic and race discriminating elements. The Norwegian state’s attempt to ‘modernise’ the community did not include the indigenous people’s own requests and views in the process and a vital part of the culture and traditions was simply deconstructed.
Throughout the 1990’s until present, large positive changes in the attitude towards the Sami language and culture have been seen. This has led to a wish from a large number of Coast-Sami people to restore their culture again; finding back old traditions. Today, several children have Sami as their first language and the Sami culture is a central part of the everyday life in local schools.
The Photo Series Korrasami Arbevierru touches our heart greatly. When you see the photographs you feel intimacy and for us Scandinavians they give us a longing for greater and deeper knowledge of our ancestral roots as Mariannes images so beautify gives us with her photographs.
The two in the picture are called Uhcca Hansa Risten and Uhcca Hansa Thommas. This particular photo is also named after the couple’s names. They are cousins dressed up nicely in their traditional Sami clothing on our way to celebrate his confirmation.