Life on the Slow Track: Oslo to Bergen, Norway
Weaving through the fjords and mountains of Norway by train gave one photographer a chance to reflect on life in the slow lane
05 May, 2020
There's something about a train journey that gives you time to think. As the world files past, life in the carriages slows down. It's a time to contemplate, to listen, to read, to photograph.
A while ago, a seed had been planted in my mind that impelled me to visit Norway. When I learned about the Bergensbanen, that seed grew. Connecting Oslo and Bergen, it's one of Europe's highest and most beautiful lines, stretching almost 500km through winding fjords and mountains while climbing 1,237m onto the Hardangervidda plateau. Over the summit, the line branches, giving passengers the option to ride the Flåmsbana, one of the world's steepest standard-gauge tracks, down past waterfalls to the fjord town of Flåm. After a swim here, you can retrace your steps back up the mountain to meet the next train heading to Bergen and continue the journey.
As a photographer, I have always concentrated on people as my subject matter, but this journey gave me the impetus to stand by the window for hours - the journey between Oslo and Bergen takes around seven - capturing the beautiful vistas as they flashed past. That sensation of constant movement made me eager to observe the beauty of Norway.
It was one of the most calming trips I have ever taken, thanks to the friendliness of people I met and, most of all, because of the way this awe-inspiring landscape frees the mind. The journey has changed the way that I see the world, and I hope that you too can see it through these photographs.