PÅL HERMANSEN

The Norwegian artist Pål Hermansen is more than a photographer. ‘Photography is not only a tool for aesthetic interpretation, but also for building a respect for our surroundings’ he says. And this is what motivates him since decades of work, what makes him explore into the deeply ambivalent relationship between mankind and nature.

His artistically appealing animal portraits leave the documentary approach of nature photography behind to research into the world of motion and light and interpretation. And all of a sudden the species or the place have no importance. What we see is the essence of a being, who shares this planet with us.

The body of work ‘A bird’s eye view’ presents unexpected forms and structures telling another story than just of colors and beauty. Hermansen’s way to underline the mystery of existence, very often manifests in removing all references of size.

PÅL HERMANSEN: ARTIST STATEMENT

My art is an ever-ongoing exploration of the world, the nature - and the pulses of all forms of life. My fascination is that the objective existence always is modulated by the artist´s personal experiences, attitude and mood on the day of the creation of the work. In earlier years, I started on a career in science, but I felt impatient and dissatisfied with the slow progress. Instead I realized that I wanted to develop my interest for photography and use this as as a tool to explore the world. Photography is not only a tool for aesthetic interpretation, but also for building a respect for our surroundings. I think that mankind needs to build a humbler attitude towards nature, as we are an integral part of it. During the last decades, I see that I repeatedly return to the relations between man and nature in my photography.

My own deep relation to nature was built in the years of childhood, and my environmental consciousness has been a strong force. Today’s deprivation of nature and seeing the number of living creatures going down every year creates a kind of grieving process in me. I find inspiration in philosophy and zen-meditation to be able to penetrate deeper into the field of existence. Time has always fascinated me, as has the matter of objects and ideas. Heidegger’s ”Sein und Zeit” combines these aspects in an engaging way. He, and the existential philosophers following him, defines our different approaches to the surrounding world. Even if we are a part of the same objective world, we live our lives as if we were born on different planets. I guess this is a reason for my interest in studying man versus nature.

As already mentioned, the philosophy has definitely opened up my interest for the relationship between man and nature. On the other hand, the sense of pure existence goes back to my respect for all life forms. To me, being out in nature, is a time for meditation and mindfulness, and I constantly try to penetrate deeper into the matter and use the camera and new techniques to see the subjects in a new way.

Biography

Pål Hermansen has since 1971 worked as a freelance photographer, artist and writer.

Multivision shows and lectures in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany, UK, Lithuania and Spain, leader of many photographical workshops in Norway and abroad, contributed to several radio and TV-programs.

Member of the jury of the international environmental photographic competition hosted by Friends of the Earth International 2006, and the Russian Press Photo competition 2006/7. Member of the finalist jury Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2011 competition, and  head of the jury of the Nordic Nature Photo Contest (NNPC) since 2011. Member of the finalist jury BBC Wildlife Photographer of the year 2014 and GDT European Nature Photographer of the Year 2014 and Oasis competiton, Italy and Green Turtle competition, Russia 2017. Leader of the Programme Committee of the annual Norwegian Nature Photography Festival since 2013. Vice president of the Internation Federation for Wildlife Photography (IFWP) from 2017.

Speaker at WildPhotos 2007 and 2013 (BBC/Wildlife Photographer of the Year), London, the international Nordic Light Photography festival, Kristiansund, Norway 2009 and 2012, Photo festival Vilnius, Lithuania 2010, AEFONA-congress Sevilla, Spain 2011, GDT Festival Lünen 2002 and 2013, Lofoten Internationial Photo Festival 2013, Norway, Exodus Festival, Oviedo, Spain 2014, Spain Art, Salamanca, Spain 2014, Norwegian Nature Photography Festival 2014 and 2016.

Part of the Wild Wonders of Europe Project (www.wildwondersofeurope.com)

 

Artist in Residence on Arctic and Antarctic voyages (Quark expeditions, Hurtigruten,

PolarQuest).  Photographic travel leader in cooperation with Zoom Photographic Expeditions, Sweden.

Education:

Photographic workshop with Arno Minkkinen, Norway, 2017

Photographic workshop in Havana, Cuba with Alex and Rebecca Webb 2012

BA Arts and Photography, Robert Meyer College of Art, Oslo 2004-2008

5 Photographic workshops Morten Krogvold 1995-1999

Research education microbiology, Oslo 1985-1986

Homeopathy, Oslo 1980-1984

Dentistry, University of Oslo 1974-1979

Interview

1. WICH IS THE CENTRAL QUESTION IN YOUR LIFE AS A PHOTOGRAPHER?
Nourishing the creative force, challenging the conventions of nature photography and building bridge between documentary and art.

2. WHO ARE THE PHOTOGRAPHERS / OR OTHER ARTISTS THAT INSPIRE YOU?
I have been working with artists working with landart and conceptual art and this is very inspiring.

3. WHAT MAKES AN EXCELLENT PHOTOGRAPHER?
You should be able to develop your own way of seeing, trust yourself and work with projects and ideas over long time.

4. WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART ABOUT DECIDING TO BECOME A FULL-TIME PHOTOGRAPHER?
Now the income is very unsecure and unpredictable. It was better earlier, when the sales through agencies was good.

5. WHAT MOTIVATES YOU IN YOUR WORK AND WHAT IS DEMOTIVATING?
The rare moments when you succeed with you images, fulfilling your ideas. Demotivating is when people just want boring images and don´t see the good ones.

6. WHAT ARE THE MOST PASSIONATE MOMENTS IN YOUR WORK?
When editors and gallerists are enthusiastic and the work gets published, Also when have a brand new book in my hands.

7. WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHALLENGES IN YOUR WORK?
Lack of time, both to do photography and editing.

8. HOW DID YOU DEVELOP YOUR ARTISTRY?
Slowly, though education and trial and error…

9. WHAT IS YOUR MAJOR PERSONAL LEARNING IN PHOTOGRAPHY THAT YOU WOULD CONVEY TO A „NOVICE“?
Get to know the history of art and photography and stick to the topics that really engages you.

10. WHICH ARE THE DRIVING FORCES FOR YOU PERSONALLY AND IN YOUR WORK?
The restlessness of always trying to do anything better and more challenging than earlier.

11. WHICH FEELINGS DETERMINE YOUR WORK WHEN OUT IN THE FIELD?
After many years, you develop a skill to look for the special moments, the crucial moment, when ervery factor work together.

12. ON WHICH CRITERIA DO YOU JUDGE YOUR OWN WORK AS SUCCESSFUL?
I have been able to do different things thorugh the years, and I avoid doing what others have been doing before.

13. YOUR PHOTOGRAPHIC WORK AND THE BEAUTY OF OUR PLANET, NATURE: WHAT CONNECTION DO YOU SEE?
I try not to just show the beauty, but also the interaction of humans. I love the images that tell that nature rules over humans.

14. ASSUMING YOU WOULD HAVE 15 MINUTES ON A TV BROADCAST AND PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD COULD LISTEN AND UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU WERE SAYING, WHAT WOULD BE THE CORE OF YOUR MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE?
Acquire knowledge about nature, learn to experience nature, as nature is the basis of all life. Men that live without any knowledge of and contact with nature are not what we need in the future. A way to achieve this, is to introduce children to nature in early childhood and let them explore life and nature freely.

Publications

Since 1985 Hermansen has published 35 books on nature, photography and art.

Included in the NHM/BBC-book Masters of Nature Photography (2013) as one of ten world-leading contemporary photographers in the field of nature.

Images have been published internationally by media as National Geographic Magazine, GEO (GEO Magazine /Special/ Saison/ GEOLino /GEO books/GEO Gesundheit)), Conde Nast Traveler, Stern, Orion Magazine, USA, Welt Am Sonntag, The Sunday Times, New York Times, The Observer, The Guardian, Entertainment Weekly, Sierra Club Magazine, L’Illustre (Switzerland), BBC Wildlife Magazine, Digital Camera, Outdoor Photography (UK), Hasselblad Forum, Terre Sauvage, Bell´Europa, Focus (Italy, Greece), Altair, Travel Holiday, Camera Natura, Self Realization Fellowship calendar, CD covers etc.

The photography has also been presented by photography and art magazines in Norway, Sweden, Finland, The Netherlands, USA, Brazil, South Africa, Japan and China.

Represented in the collection 100norwegianphotographers.no, web, books and exhibition.

Books:

Våre vakreste fjellplanter  1985

Vakre planter i skog og eng 1986

Kystens vakre vekster 1988

Det levende landet 1989

Fjell-Norge 1990

Nord-Norge 1990

Rumpetroll og blomsterstøv 1993

Panorama Norge/Panorama Norway/Panorama Norwegen/Panorama Norvége 1994/2004

Livet i fjellet 1995

Livet ved kysten 1996

Livet i skogen 1997

Fugler i Norge 1998

Dyr i Norge 1998

Planter i Norge 1998

Trær i Norge 1998

Helse på grønn resept (photography) 2000

Svalbard – Polarlandet/Svalbard Arctic Land 2002/2010

Dyrenes magi 2003

Naturligvis! 2003

Arktis – i eventyrernes fotspor 2004

Fuglenes magi 2007

Flatanger! 2008

Lofoten! 2008

Lofoten Guide/Lofoten Guide (E), Lofoten Guide (D) 2008/2014

Svalbard Guide/Svalbard Guide (S), Spitsbergen Guide (E), Spitzbergen Guide (D) 2010/2014

Norske Isbreer  2009 (photography)

Norsk Natur – vill, vakker og sårbar 2010

Eld og Vatn, Kjartan Fløgstads Sauda 2012

Ut og Lek! 2011

Frø til verden/Seeds for the world – the Svalbard Global Seed Vault 2013

Masters of Nature Photography, portfolio book, one out of ten photographers 2013

LandSkapt -Kunst i landskap 2015

Norsk naturfoto, i et historisk perspektiv 2016

Norske Fugler 2017

Norske ødegårder (photography) 2017

Olav H. Hauge poems (photography) in Korean, Seoul, S-Korea 2017

Vestlandet – en tidsreise/The Norwegian Western Fjords, a journey in time 2019

Norske ruiner (photography) 2019

Awards

Finalist Big Picture Competition, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco 2018

Grand Prize, all over winner, second prize and commended,  Nature Images Awards, Paris 2017

Finalist BioPhoto contest, Italy 2017

Finalist BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year, London 2017

1st prize Concurso Asferico, Italy 2017

1st prize Glanzlichter,  Germany, 2017

3rd prize Bird Photographer of the Year, London 2017

1st and 2nd prize Bird Photographer of the Year, London 2016

Highly commended, Black and white Spider awards, California 2016

Finalist Nature Images Awards, Paris, France 2015

2nd prize and highly commended, Black and white Spider awards, California 2015

Highly honoured, Por El Planeta competition, Mexico 2015

Finalist Big Picture Competition, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco 2015

1 st Prize Concurso Asferico, Italy 2015

Highly honoured, Glanzlichter competition 2015

1 st prize Nature Images Awards, Paris, France 2014

1 st prize Big Picture Competition, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco 2014

All-over winner, Glanzlichter competition, Germany 2014

Highly honoured, Nature’s Best, USA 2013

Fritz Pölking Preis (European Nature Photojournalist Prize), + 1 commended, GDT, Germany 2013.

All-over prize of the public, GDT-exhibition 2013.

1 st prize + 1 commended,  BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013

2 nd prize (runner-up), BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012

Honorable mention (2 images) Nature and Fine Arts, International Photography Awards (IPA), California, 2012

Highly honored, Nature´s Best, USA 2010

Highly honoured, Glanzlichter competiton, Germany 2010

1st Prize Concurso Asferico, Italy 2010

1st Prize European Nature Photographer of the Year 2009

2nd Prize European Nature Photographer of the Year 2008

Howies Art think Prize, UK 2007

2nd Prize Nature, singles, World Press Photo Competition 2006

Nordic Nature Photographer 2005 (one winner biannually)

1st Prize European Nature Photographer of the Year 2005

1st Prize European Nature Photographer of the Year 2004 + several highly commended

2nd Prize Hasselblad Open 1998

1st Prize Wildlife Photographer of the Year 1993 + 6 highly commended images 1993-2001

1st Prize junior category United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), international environmental photographic competition 1974