Bergen / Norway

Maria Prestmo was born in 1976 she is a Bergen-based photographer whose projects reside in the realms between figuration and abstraction, between reality and dreams. She often uses different combinations of visual strategies, such as translucency, layers and (reflections in) mirrors to explore our connectedness with the environment.

Her passion for photography has followed her all the way through childhood, youth and her nine years of academic education. The camera has become her way of studying human behavior.

Her work has been exhibited in galleries and festivals such as Galleri Ramfjord (Oslo), Banksmidja Galleri (Voss), HardingArt (Utne), B-open (Bergen), Hydrogenfabrikken Kunsthall (Fredrikstad), and Hardanger Musikkfest (Lofthus).

My work


So This Is Goodbye

Sometimes you just have to let go.

Everything does not just get lost

Everything seems to escape and disappear from me. Life, memories, personality, imagination and everything that it holds; it all just flies from me. I always walk around with a feeling that I am someone else, that I feel like someone else, that I think like someone else. What I witness is an spectacle with a different decor, and the one I see is myself.

"Alt får ikke bare bli borte» (translates to "Everything does not just get lost») is a series photographs self portraits that thematises the rootlessness that occurs when the frames you have been surrounded by and shaped you throughout life no longer are there. Who are you? 



State of Emergency

Most of my pictures I capture without any preconceived plan. I carry my camera with me wherever I go, so I can capture naturally occurring moments that will never happen again. The pictures called “State of Emergency”, are however totally planned.

In March 2017, I spent a week alone in Iceland, with the intent to capture some of the Icelandic soul. I stayed at a hostel all week, and to get to my room or to the bathroom, I had to pass a corner with a sofa by the window. The light from the window – which provided a magnificent view over the fjords, mountains and volcanos – changed the appearance of the corner during the cycles of day and night. The combination of the ever-changing light and the diverse landscape visible through the window, made me stop and reflect on how the dramatic nature and the huge amount of unsettled land on the island, impact the inhabitants.

While I was there, I talked to several Icelanders, and during the conversations they all at some point threw glances out at the surrounding nature. Long glances in which it seemed like they totally fell out of the situation, to a place where I could not reach them.

The desire to belong to something is a fundamental part of human nature. Everyone needs to have interpersonal relationships in their lives. However, I have never felt the belongingness to nature in itself as strongly as I did through the people in Iceland. At the end of the week, I used a model by the window in the corner, trying to capture the beauty of this state.

The work has been given the name ”State of Emergency”, inspired by Björk’s music piece “Jóga”, a sonic representation of the geographical beauty of her homeland. Björk calls it an ode to her native land and her best friend Jóga, with subtexts relating to emergency. A state that cannot be put into words, and which followed me wherever I went, both through Björk’s magic piece of music and from just being on the island.