Norwegian Vacation Photos from Architectural Photographer Steve King
My girlfriend virtually insisted that we go to Norway, this past winter, to see the Northern Lights. I have long been fascinated by Norwegian Architecture, so I wholeheartedly agreed. Two days before our trip, while doing some research, I found a blog post about Snorre Stinessen’s Sea Cabins. When I texted Luiza the link, her response was just 4 words long “We are going there!” The next day, she was emailing Manshausen, and we were rearranging our itinerary.
Manshausen is far off the beaten path, even for Norway. To get there we flew to Bodø, boarded a ferry to the small fishing village of Nordskot where we were met by the polar explorer, and owner of the sea cabins, Børge Ousland. He took us the last kilometer to Manshausen, in a small, open top, fishing boat, under a clearing, -3C° and moonless, arctic night sky.
The sea cabins sit out on the western edge of the island. Børge showed us how to enter the cabin, and then gave us an extensive tour, explaining every detail of the design. Once he left, we sat in the living room lounge chairs, and talked about our great fortune for having made it here. The architecture, the materials, the interior, and the views of both the water and the night sky were breath taking.
Around 10 pm, the clouds disappeared and we began to see the faint glow of the Northern Lights out on the horizon. I got my camera and began to photograph. For the next 2 hours, Luiza watched the show from the warmth of the sea cabin, as I headed outside to watch through my camera’s lens. We both found everything we came to Norway to see, and more than we could have ever imagined.
Post Script: When we got back to the US, I processed the images and sent them to Børge. He liked them so much that he invited us back, as his guests, to shoot the interiors and to spend more time in the island. We decided to return in April before the crowds of summer, and while we could still experience the aurora, up there, above the arctic circle.
On our second trip we also met the architect, Snorre Stinessen, who has since received numerous architectural awards for this work, including 4 A+ Awards from Architeizer and a German Design Council, Iconic Award for 2016.
A Photographers 2nd Perspective on the Sea Cabin Architecture
The green auroa photos from first night at Manshausen, capture the deliberate way these buildings have been designed to embrace the landscape, the seascape and the skyscape of the island. This architecture is a machine for perception. It uses minimal form, a wrap around, frameless glass living room, and strategic site placement to carefully direct your visual attention back and forth between the architecture and environment. In doing so, these buildings draw you into an awareness of your own positions in the building, and on the island.
Bernard Tschumi in his book Architecture and Disjunction, argues that architecture is not about the form of buildings, but is about our experiences of them. The sea cabins suspend you between landscape and architecture. They slow you down, and hold you in a kind of stillness. The sea cabins are slow architecture. They are architecture in real time, not the imagined time of your cell phone or your brain, but the real time of your body: your breath, your blood flow, your digestion.
In Norway, the most popular TV called slow TV. They put a camera on the front of a locomotive, and broadcast the entire train trip: Olso to Trondheim, 9 hours, uninterrupted, with real time footage of every meter of the trip, every station, every tunnel, uncut and unedited. Slow TV is simple and beautiful. Slow TV is the world unfolding in real time. Slow TV is slow drama, the drama of the real world.
The sea cabins are like slow tv. They mesmerize you with images of passing clouds, undulating water and the changing colors of land and sky. From inside and out, they draw you into them, as they dissolve between reflection and transparency. Looking through them, they assist us in simply paying attention to the obvious, to the real world, what we might otherwise miss in the crush of our daily lives.
These photographs and this video are the result of slowly looking through the sea cabins. The still images were all taken in one day in January, and the video was filmed over a week in April, with a drone. Inspired by Snorre Stinessen’s architecture these images are about how these sea cabins open up new ways of seeing, and how this architecture gently maneuvers us out to the very edge of our perception, and brings us, face to face, with the sublime.
Credits: - Steve King Architectural Imaging - Principal - Steve King