Words & Images Samuel Han
Travel has been a deeply engrained part of my life since I was born. My family and I moved around constantly, never really being able to settle down and put our roots somewhere. It was hard growing up but as I got older, it became an immense benefit to my future, because I loved to travel. As a photographer to see new places doesn’t always mean having to travel to new countries, but I was blessed with the opportunity to move to Sola, Norway for over six months volunteering at the YWAM Rogaland base.
Norway was a different challenge than I had ever faced before, I had never seen a fjord and had hardly heard about it. So getting to photograph the mountains, sea, and sky was a perfect combination, harmonious. I admit, it may be quite gloomy in the winter, but the winter gives you such a gratefulness for the light. To cherish the limited amount of light you get, to explore and be outside in a serene and sublime landscape. To wake up with the sunrise overlooking a fjord covered in snow and just barely being able to spot the houses of villages below. Sunrise and sunset seemed to last a lifetime as I drove around mountains and through tunnels.
There is a certain reverence for nature that I see in Norway that is difficult to see in many parts of the world. They live with the nature, and the nature isn’t a place that you take a vacation to go to. You live and abide in it.
With the world constantly expanding and trying to find new ways of living, preserving the very thing we come from is becoming more and more essential. I don’t photograph landscapes to give myself pleasure or others pleasure, but to show that these places are beautiful only if preserved. We as humans could easily destroy the nature… and many of us already have. Once we strip nature of what it is, we can never recover the same nature as we once had, it is impossible.
Solitude in serenity. The vast greatness of nature gives me something you can’t get in cities and towns, solitude. To be alone and yet, not completely alone. It allows me to get away and clear my head of the overwhelming thoughts and just relax in the beauty of what’s around me. Nature can do something that most can’t, just being in its presence can calm your soul, to rest.
I use my personal work to give myself rest and peace. Especially living in New York the last few years, it is so easy to get caught up in the busyness of it all. My personal work slows me down, to place myself back where I was in the vast expanse of nature. I hope that I can only do a fraction to help others in also slowing down and taking in the environment of the photo, to feel how it felt to be there and be in the moment.
© all pictures Samuel Han with kind permission
Sam is based in New York, follow him on Instagram here.
Melanie: As you may have heard: We are planning a printed edition of Northletters Magazine Vol.1. Photography today is mostly seen in tiny formats on fast moving media with a very short term of existence. We believe that pictures need PRINT. We want Northletters to be a platform for talented young photographers to have exposure, to be seen i.e. on a coffetable, maybe in a bookstore or even in libraries of universities, where fine art is culture. So, stay tuned dear readers and take good care! Yours, Melanie Kettner