Some photographers seem to invent their very own quality of light in their imagery. Norwegian Ola Rindal is no exception, both in his commercial work and in his own projects. In his latest book Thujord, light – or the lack of it – plays a key role. Rindal has lived in Paris for the past two decades, but every year visits his family farm in Gudbrandsdalen, in the heart of Norway, which has been in the family for over 300 years. When his older sister took it over, Rindal moved to Sweden, and then to France. Still, something always brought him home. As he writes: ‘Thujord (pronounced Tuyor) means two fields, and it is the name of the farm where I grew up. I go there every Christmas with my family, and even though I have not lived there for a long time, it is still home.’
Rindal’s camera shows him what he’s been missing. His niece. The old house. The silent trees. The desolate roads. The lonely, indispensable power lines. The one hour of daylight that is brilliant, with a pink sky. The snow. His kids’ immense fascination with the snow. The snowman. The dog. The cows in the field. The darkness. There is nothing on earth as dark as the Nordic winter.
Rindal’s work echoes a project by another Scandinavian, Lars Tunbjörk’s Vinter, which started as an open assignment from a Swedish newspaper to depict wintertime. Having always hated the darkness, Tunbjörk photographed everything he saw, and said that the work became therapeutic for him. Perhaps Thujord was the same for Rindal, who fixed his lens on his old home to remind him of where he is from.
In some ways, Thujord reminds me of Rindal’s previous book Paris, whose pictures were taken over a period of 14 years, from when he first came to the city on 11 September 2001, until the terrorist attack there in 2015. When he walked the streets of Paris, he was surprised by the gap between what he saw and the romantic city presented in photobooks. He started making visual notes, and over the years a darker side of Paris was revealed.
Rindal will continue to travel – to Norway, to Japan (the country of his wife Madoka) and to Paris – always with his analogue camera over his shoulder, showing us another side of the places we think we know.
Nina Strand, editor Objektiv Press.
30 × 24 cm, Hardcover, 2020, 978-82-691878-0-9