A mystery story! For decades the people living in Hessdalen valley in Norway have been obsessed by spotting UFO’s. Photographer Ivar Kvaal and writer Ola Vikås visited the valley to find out why. Ola Vikås writes: ‘Hessdalen had already been drained of its life force when the first lights started to appear in the valley. At a time when the cold war still enveloped Scandinavia in a fog of secrecy and uncertainty, in a climate where people were historically or indeed traditionally “closed”, it took quite some time before anyone dared to speak about what they had seen. Not even the neighbours, who were part of a close yet ever-shrinking community, were aware that they were witnessing the same phenomenon night after night. During the cold nights of December 1981, change finally arrived. The lights that had come to Hessdalen had shone brightly enough to attract the attention of sources that lay outside of the village. With the arrival of an eager press corps, the otherwise remote valley embarked on a whole new chapter in its history. From being a village that did not have anything exceptional to offer – with just a church, a community centre, a general store – Hessdalen soon became a gathering place, a point of reference, for a diverse group whose only common interest was in searching for something they could not understand. The long hoped-for attention, however, only brought ridicule and stigmatisation.’
54 color images + archival images and press cuttings • Text by Ola Vikås • Editing: Ivar Kvaal, Aslak Gurholt, Gösta Flemming • Design: Aslak Gurholt • Hard cover • 200 x 240 mm • 120 pages • English • 2018
Selected for The Photobook Exhibition, Athens Photo Festival 2018, Greece.
Diploma in Grafill’s Beautiful Books Award 2019, Norway.