Vessels

Shot over a period of three years, the project Vessels show us intimate scenes of summer tourists boating along Norway’s southern coast. The images, shot from a birds-eye view, show candid tableaux of human behaviour and interaction.

The photographic series Vessels reveals more than the obvious. Through viewing anonymous people, a mirror is held up to ourselves, inevitably forcing us to reflect on our culture, values and existence.

“Using a voyeuristic approach, Jonassen succeeds in creating a sense of intimacy in Vessels... By treating ordinary phenomena as significant carriers of meaning, layers of mundanity are carefully peeled away, until a type of essence of our behaviour or nature remains”. - Maiken Winum.

When swallows fly high

A little boy will travel to the south of Norway and spend his summer holiday with his mother and grandparents. They will live in a cabin by the sea, on a small island. They will do this every summer. He will also make a friend, experience his first kiss and throw up from eating too many cherries. His grandfather will teach him that when the swallows fly high it is a sign of good weather, and that this is a good time to pack for a boat trip. They will ride their boat around the small island which is connected to the mainland only by a narrow bridge. Sometimes someone will wave to him from the bridge. He will enjoy these boat trips greatly and he will think these lazy summer days will last forever.

When he is older, the sight and sound of swallows will stir something deep within him. He will have a hard time explaining this to others, but nevertheless, it will remain.

A man will return to the place where he spent his summer holidays. His grandparents have passed away now. He will go on boat trips with his friend, but it's not the same. He will stand on the bridge and remember his childhood. He will look at the people passing under the bridge in their boats and wonder who they are and where they are going. Sometimes he will wave to them. Sometimes he will photograph them. He will do this over several years.

In one of the images he will feel like he somehow captured himself as a little boy. This will make him feel the need to share his photographs with others, in the hope that they might mean something.

Grandfather Arvid teaching Christopher to steer the boat. Ca. 1984.

Grandfather Arvid teaching Christopher to steer the boat. Ca. 1984.

The photos are shot at Blindleia, an inland waterway stretching from Skauerøya in the east to the Ulvøysund in the west of Lillesand Municipality. Many people, including Norway’s royal family, consider Blindleia to be one of Norway’s most beautiful coastal areas, the ‘fillet mignon’ of the southern archipelago.

The photos are shot at Blindleia, an inland waterway stretching from Skauerøya in the east to the Ulvøysund in the west of Lillesand Municipality. Many people, including Norway’s royal family, consider Blindleia to be one of Norway’s most beautiful coastal areas, the ‘fillet mignon’ of the southern archipelago.