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Tonje Bøe Birkeland as Tuva Tengel on a camel in Mongolia.

Tonje Bøe Birkeland

The imagined feminine scientists, explorers and adventurers seen in Tonje Bøe Birkeland’s images are echoes from a footnote in ladies’s historical past. In her ongoing collection, The Characters, the photographer frames herself within the guise of Victorian and early-Twentieth century pioneers – wearing interval costume, holding binoculars and bellows cameras – snapped in widescreen vistas of mountains, fjords and ice flows. Every image is a efficiency.

The mission started in 2008, when Birkeland was on a course about images’s function in shaping historic truths. “It was all about did Neil Armstrong go to the moon? Did Roald Amundsen truly get to the Pole first?” she remembers. “That made me wish to do one thing about ladies.” Her first character was a glaciologist.

Her images are puzzles and her work faucets into the names, appearances and biographies of actual, unrecognised ladies, equivalent to Louise Arner Boyd, a polar scientist who traversed the north-east coast of Greenland within the Nineteen Twenties. In addition to entering into the boots of her creations, Birkeland writes their journals and creates installations of their journey instances (full of maps and geological samples), which she each images and reveals. She has immortalised her intrepid alter egos in varied settings, from the snowdrifts of Svalbard to the foothills of Bhutan.

Within the high photograph, she is seen as desert traveller Tuva Tengel on a camel in Mongolia. The three different photographs present her as Arctic explorer Anna Aurora Astrup in Greenland.

Birkeland’s work will probably be at Forum Box in Helsinki, Finland, from 22 August to 19 September.


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