Lillehammer / Norway
Barbora Hollan words to describe herself :
My whole life I have spent observing the world. When I was four, we moved from Czech Republic to Norway, and without knowing the language, I tried to make sense of the world around me. Later in life I did the same, when moving to Peru, Chile and Nepal to work as a photographer. I now work as a photographer and documentary director. In my work, I wish to combine a poetic expression with a deeper, often political subtext. I wish to make work that you can experience emotionally, and that can be accessible to a wider audience.
I have studied photography at the Academy of Arts Architecture and Design in Prague and the School of Photography in Gothenburg (now Akademin Valand), and Creative Documentary Directing at the Norwegian Film School. In 2014, I debuted at the National Exhibition of Contemporary Art in Norway (Høstutstillingen), with two large photographs from the series «Studies of the Night Sky». Currently my base is in Lillehammer, a small town in Norway, but I’m working around the world.
Studies of the night sky
Studies of the Night Sky is a series of large format photographs of light pollution - city lights reflected in the sky. The central aspect of the photos is a feeling of being drawn towards the light – as an outsider who is looking at the traces of a civilization, and the tension between what is beautiful and what is self-destructive: Many environmentalist see light pollution as one of the most pervasive forms of pollution, that is both affecting the eco systems and our own hormone production, having significant impact on both our mental and physical health.
Since I first started photographing light pollution, it has become sort of an obsession, representing both a challenge and a meditative state of mind. I have always been afraid of darkness. And being alone at night in the suburbs was always followed by a lot of fear.
The photos are taken on a large format camera. It is a meticulous process, where a series of small steps have to be taken in the right order to capture the picture. Because the camera itself swallows a lot of light, it takes 15 minutes to capture each image. This means 15 minutes of silence, where every sound becomes so prominent. I never listened to music, in case anything would happen. The night, the darkness, the silence, the sound of the trees, the smell of dirt, taking these photographs became almost like a meditation, a ritual of total awareness in the dark.