A Picture Says a Thousand Words

There I was, just casually browsing the news websites, when I came across a collection of the most moving and beautiful photographs I’ve ever seen.

Norwegian Photographer Andrea Gjestvang has just the L’Iris d’Or prize at the Sony World Photography Awards for her collection, One Day in History, a series of portraits of the survivors of the 2011 Norwegian massacre. I don’t know that much about photography (although I have just bought a new bridge camera to find out) and I don’t know much about the Norwegian shootings, but I find the photos so completely tragic and raw. Just the simple pictures of these young survivors in various places – at home, in the countryside – none smiling, some physically damaged, all mentally scarred, I’d say it shows the power of photography as a visual medium, and the ultimate humanity in the face of such a tragic event. There was something horribly real about reading the stories of how they survived the ordeal and how they lost their friends along the way and the pictures encapsulate their stories perfectly.

I put a few of my favourites below, all credit to Gjestvang obviously.

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Would these pictures be so powerful if we didn’t know the circumstances? I definitely think they are beautiful and moving without the context, but when you know what these young people have gone through, it adds a whole new level of appreciation and empathy. It takes courage to find beauty in the wake of terror so congratulations to Gjestvang for her amazing and already well awarded work.

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