In 2011 the world was shocked by the Utoya island massacre, where an extremist ruthlessly murdered 77 people, leaving a further 200 injured. When the dust settled, Andrea Gjestvang dedicated a year photographing the teenagers who survived one of Norway’s most devastating and terrifying events. The finished product, her moving ‘One Day in History’ photography series has won the Norwegian photographer the top prize in the Sony World Photography Awards.
Less than two years after the July 2011 incident, the ‘One Day in History’ series shows how survivors have rebuilt their lives despite the impact the attack has had, and will most likely always have, on their lives.
Some survivors suffered grievous bodily harm such as bullet wounds resulting in amputations, while others managed to escape the shower of bullets by hiding under beds, diving into the surrounding water, or playing dead.
Gjestvang gave some insight into her experience working on the series:
“I wanted to know: How do these young people feel? Who are they? Is it OK to photograph them? I had to pull myself back as a photographer and decide not to try to beautifully compose the photos, not to use any camera effects.”
“All the pictures from this series are important to me. But there is this photo of a red-haired girl that really consumed me. Ylva Schwenke Helen is 15 years old. She has a large scar on her neck. She looks into the future, but she carries history on her shoulders.”