This Series Plays With The Subconscious Worlds We Create For Ourselves Within Reality The truth is subjective, there are always multiple sides to every story and sometimes life is stranger than fiction. Norwegian Photographer, Øystein Aspelund, has loved photography since he got his first DSLR at the age of 19 and his latest series, Hibernation II, is an ominous twist on the blurred boundaries between truth and fiction we tread in our childhood. The collection explores mans relationship to his landscape as a way of investigating. It is based on real places and events but adds a layer of the ethereal and other-worldly as Øystein narrates the story between reality and subconscious. He describes the series as, “a stream of frozen moments, where the story between each frame is as important as the frame itself.” We spoke to the Norwegian artist, who has a background in architecture, about boundaries, truth and art. The Plus: What inspired both the Hibernation projects? Øystein Aspelund: This series is visually dark, and largely shot at night, when most people sleep. Sleep can be seen as a kind of “Hibernation,” which is a subject that I find rather fascinating. Normally animals hibernate, but also humans can hibernate, in several different ways. I have a fascination for the dark hours, when the world appears very different. Lights are turned on, and artificial lightning illuminates the landscape instead of the sun and the daylight. We have a lot of artificial lightning in Norway, and the winter season here where I live is rather dark. Many people say that they enter a kind of hibernation state of mind during these winter months. TP: What was the most challenging part of creating the series? ØA: Most of the shots were taken in late hours at night, as parts of bigger trips. Depending on the season, these are the hours when it is cold and dark outside. You find yourself many times hungry, tired and actually in the mood from anything but taking pictures. It is quite funny, but these slightly unpleasant conditions are the times when I have found the best circumstances to shoot and get the results I want. Another big challenge is the sequencing, to sort out and select relevant shots from thousands of images. It can be seen as a big puzzle, to find the correct pieces to make it all work as a complete body of work. TP: Where are the photos taken? ØA: Most of the shots are from Norway and Iceland. There are also single shots from Bulgaria, Italy and Germany. TP: What equipment did you use? ØA: For this project I used mostly a Nikon D800(with 24-70mm/14-24mm Nikon lenses) and a Manfrotto tripod. Some shots are also taken with a Nikon D5000. TP: How did you edit the photos? ØA: In general I aim to do as little editing as possible, “less is more.” On some images I did some minor adjustments in color temperature, and in contrast. In some shots I also did some small adjustments on lens distortions, to get the lines and perspectives more accurate. No retouch was used. TP: Where do you think the boundary is between truth and fiction? ØA: I believe this tension is very important for photography as medium. A quite normal conception about pictures is seeing them as a representation of “the truth” or the world as we see it. Photographically there are lots of different opportunities to display the reality. Documentary photographers have a very strict view on this, in particular when it comes to editing. But in the end there are a lot of ways to display scenery, and the truth may differ from one person to another. I like to play with the idea that truth is always very subjective, and depending on many aspects. I aim, among other things, to project this question on to the viewer, so that he/her can make their own thoughts on this. TP: What does the ‘truth’ mean to you? ØA: The term truth is very relative, quite wide and abstract. It also has importance in several philosophical and religious ways. Briefly I would say that truth is what you can sense and experience. Fiction is more related to what that can be imagined, like dreams. I would say that it is also could be connected to own terms and beliefs, like artistic vision. TP: How does the truth relate to art? ØA: Art in general is very subjective, and in many times the truth is strongly related to the vision of the artist, like how the artist depicts the world. TP: What’s next for you? ØA: I am really happy to get feedback on what I do, to see that people are interested in my work. Good feedback is a great motivation to pursue more projects, and continue shooting. Right now photography is mostly a great hobby for me, a way to relax and stress down from everyday life. Next to this, it would be great to host some exhibitions, and maybe one day get representation in a professional art gallery.