The Lofoten Islands are located right to the north of the Arctic Circle. This Norwegian archipelago is laced with fjords, bare beaches, abrupt cliffs and vast plains. The photographer Jérôme Galland travelled there a year ago. He returned with a series of vertical photos conveying the incredible atmosphere of a region that doesn’t open itself up to everyone—a journey published in a wonderful little book, produced by the studio be-poles. It’s the 31st opus in the “Portraits de villes” (City Portraits) collection, available from 2 March.
This new book, titled Å (pronounced “O”), is a tale of exploration. A tale the evokes the fantastical stories invented by Edgar Allan Poe or Jules Verne. When at the end of 20,000 Leagues under the Sea the Nautilus disappears in a whirling maelstrom, it does so off the coast of the Lofoten Islands. And if some stories begin between the pages of a book, for Jérôme Galland they started early. The photographer was 13 when he travelled to the Lofoten Islands for the first time, leaving him with a profound memory of the place. Since then, he’s been back every ten years.
Å is a photographic journey that subtly transcribes the emotions conjured up by the artist in his photos. The relationship between immaculate views over the landscape or those sketched out by the rorbus—traditional coloured houses used by fisherman—offers a host of visual harmonies. Jérôme Galland’s expedition is perhaps more akin to a pilgrimage. There’s a sort of elevation that emerges from it, an almost mystical purity that’s successfully relayed in the book through its refined layout and elegant cover. The path took the photographer seven days to navigate and winds up in Å, a fishing village at the tip of the archipelago. It faces the ocean. In the distance, the horizon seems infinite. There are no more limits between the earth, the sky and the sea.
Images by © Jerome Galland