Inside this issue
A landscape architect by training and originally from Hungary, Orsolya Haarberg turned her passion for photography into a profession when she moved to Norway in 2005.
In 2012 I paused by my local river and everything changed. I’ve moved away from what many expect photographs to be: my images deconstruct the literal and reimagine the subjective, reflecting the curiosity that water has inspired in my practice. Water has been my conduit: it has sharpened my vision, given me permission to experiment and continues to introduce me to new ways of seeing.
Many dream of turning their passion for photography into a profession. Orsolya has done just that and has now been working together with her husband, Erlend Haarberg, as a freelance nature photographer for over 10 years, specialising in the landscapes and nature of the Nordic countries. The Haarbergs are the authors of three books: Lapland – the Alaska of Europe; Iceland – land of contrasts; and Iceland in all its splendour. Their work has been published in a number of magazines and they have completed several assignments for National Geographic Magazine. They spend a lot of time in the field, but things have finally fallen right for us to ask Orsolya to tell us more about their photography.
Would you like to start by telling us a little about landscape and nature photography in Norway, and current themes?
Just like everywhere else, the nature photography scene has changed rapidly in Norway too, as sales via photo agencies dropped in the last decade. Most nature photographers have been forced to adapt their skill profile: beginning to take on commercial assignments, establishing a magazine, opening a gallery or like most, starting to do workshops. While these activities take a lot of time and creative energy from professionals, there are photographers who present unique, single images and amazing projects, doing this work mainly as a part-time occupation or hobby.
Can you tell me a little about your background – your education, early interests and career?
I grew up in a small village by the Danube in South-Hungary. I lived in Budapest for five years, studying landscape architecture, but never practised this profession because I became too busy with WWF Hungary's beaver reintroduction programme during my years at the University. As soon as I graduated, I moved to Sopron and became immersed in research work on wildlife management (with a focus on beavers). I was just about to write my Ph.D. thesis when I met my husband, Erlend, during a eight months research scholarship in Norway. This happened 12 years ago. At that time, I was an amateur photographer, and I decided to turn photography into a profession without much hesitation. I dropped my Ph.D. studies, moved from Hungary to Norway, and have been working as a freelance nature photographer ever since.