This was my first, all film shoot, meaning I didn’t pull out my digital 5DMII one single time. I shot the entire session with my Contax 645 on Fujicolor Pro 400H, rated at 200, scanned by Richard Photo Lab. And let’s celebrate…I barely touched these images in Photoshop! That’s a big step for me!
This session is all about Norwegian tradition, and lifelong love. My mother is from Norway, and I wanted to capture a bit of the Norwegian culture and tradition in this session.
The dress she is wearing, is actually a Norwegian national costume, called a bunad, which she sewed together, and embroidered every colorful stitch by hand. The bunad is traditionally worn on very special occasions, such as weddings and galas. On May 17th of each year, Norway’s Constitution Day, men and women alike don the bunad in honor of this special day.
The jewelry is all traditional Norwegian jewelry meant to be worn with the bunad. The purse is also part of the bunad, and you can see that she stitched “1967″ into it, which is the year she made the bunad.
The red container she is holding is painted in the style of traditional folk art in Norway, more specifically, Rosemaling, translated, “decorative painting”. The container belonged to my grandmother, and it holds ribbons that are often worn on Norwegian Constitution Day. The writing on the lid translates, “If you tell me the truth, you tell me I’m pretty.”
The piano my mother is playing belonged to my grandparents. My grandfather bought it for $100 from a passenger ship that couldn’t keep it in tune. From the age of 7 to the age of 14, my grandfather sat next to my mother at the piano and played with her for a half hour every day. When my grandparents passed away, my mother had the piano shipped to the United States. She still plays it.
And let’s not forget my father. My parents met in singing group called Up With People, an international singing group that originally sought to bring a message of hope and goodwill to the people, during a turbulent time in our world’s history (the 1960′s). In 1969, my parents married in Norway, and my father embraced my mother’s culture, even learning to speak Norwegian. As you can see, my mother is wearing her wedding ring on her right hand, as is my father. Traditionally, there is no ring ceremony in Norwegian weddings. The rings are actually exchanged at the time a couple is engaged, are worn on the right hand, and actually act as both engagement and wedding bands.
My father is wearing a traditional Norwegian sweater that my mother knit. One of the most common sites growing up, was that of my mother on the couch with two knitting needles in her hand, and a pile of yarn in her lap. And if you listened closely enough, you could hear her counting her stitches in Norwegian. Needless to say, my brothers and I have had countless sweaters over the years. We always fight over who will get the next sweater Mamma knits.
The framed picture my mother is holding is a picture of herself. It’s her senior high school picture. As you can see, she is wearing a bunad in the picture, and a graduation cap. She’s still so beautiful some 47 years later!
I love you, Mamma & Pappa!