Andrea Gjestvang: One Day in History
By Martin Macdonald
One Day in History, a portrait series by Norwegian photographer Andrea Gjestvang (b. 1981) features survivors of a shooting rampage carried out by far-right sympathiser Anders Breivik at a youth camp on Utøya island, Norway. The young victims, including Eirin Kristin Kjær, one of the first shot, carry on with their daily lives. They socialise with friends, fall in love, do sport and go to school like others their age but the tragic events of 22.07.2011 have forever marked them and the date itself is etched in Norway’s collective memory.
The survivors’ stories, captured by Gjestvang, who spent several months documenting their rehabilation process in One Day in History, have won her the L’Iris D’Or, Photographer of the Year prize at the Sony World Photography Awards. One Day in History is on show as part of the 2013 Sony World Photography Awards exhibition at Somerset House until 12 May.
A picture from Andrea Gjestvang’s One Day in History,
L’Iris d’Or winner ar the Sony World Photography Awards 2013.
Photo: Andrea Gjestvang/Moment
Ylva Schwenke, 15, was shot in the shoulder, stomach, and in both her thighs.
Gjestvang’s photographs include that of a girl with a large scar on her neck and shoulder, a boy solemnly staring at the ground, a teenager who has lost half her arm, two friends hugging each other, and a young woman - Eirin Kristin Kjær - with massive scars on her stomach. They are all survivors and healing from the damage inflicted by the gunman.
Upon entering the youth camp in a policeman’s uniform, Breivik told the campers that he was there for security reasons due to the Oslo bombing. He then proceeded to go on a mass shooting, murdering 69 people, 33 of whom were under the age of 18. Of the 650 youths on the island, many more were injured yet survived the attack. A Norwegian court sentenced Breivik to 21 years in prison. Life goes on for the survivors but their emotional and/or physical scars remain.