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Festival exhibitor 2015: Linda Bournane Engelberth

© Linda Bournane Engelberth


Power and democracy

Have you ever considered the photography's importance for democracy?

Photography is one of the most important tools in the struggle to communicate "true" accounts from our world, to make visible minorities and injustice, but it can also contribute to propaganda and abuse of power

This year's theme for Photography Day is Power and Democracy. Linda Bournane Engelberth has followed a persecuted people group over time, and documented their struggle for existence.

Linda Bournane Engelberth has done several long-term documentary projects. The Freedom of Expression Foundation (Fritt Ord) supports a documentary project called «Norwegian Journal of Photography» where photographers are given the possibility to immerse themselves over time. Linda Bournane Engelberths documentary series «You can call me a gypsie if you want to” is one of the supported projects from 2011-2013. 

© Linda Bournane Engelberth

The documentary photographer Linda Bournane Engelberth has followed the Roma in Norway and Romania through her documentary project «You can call me a gypsie if you want to». Bournane Engelberth gained an unusual degree of access to a relatively closed community that does not ordinarily welcome outsiders.

© Linda Bournane Engelberth

The Roma have lived in the small villages of Tetila and Dragoin, Romania, for generations. Since Romania joined the European Union in 2007, almost everyone in these villages has a family member who has travelled to Norway for at least several months during the last five years. Due to a lack of education, poverty and unemployment in Romania, these Roma rely on Norwegian money for their livelihood back in the villages.


In Norway, they beg on the streets, collect plastic bottles to recycle, and sell found clothing. Many are also driven to pickpocketing. Life is hard on the streets of Oslo. The majority of the Roma people longs for and dreams of the months they have at home with their families in Romania, nurturing traditions that have lasted for centuries. But their happiness at home only lasts as long as the money they have brought back from Norway. And so the cycle continues.

© Linda Bournane Engelberth

Life in Romania is vastly different from life in Oslo. Arranged marriages are the norm, and family ties are deep and extensive. From as early as age 12, boys and girls marry and are taken out of school to begin a family together, with their extended relatives assisting in raising the children that come from these pairings.


Adult life is spent in a continual volley between these closeknit villages and life on the streets of major European cities where small groups of Roma do their best to exist, often circumventing the authorities. Constant travel and double lives take their toll on the travellers and the ones left behind.

Linda Bournane Engelberth (foto: Tom Henning Bratlie)

Exhibitions and awards

Linda Bournane Engelberth received her certificate in photography in 2003. She presently works with in-depth documentary projects and over the past few years, Engelberth’s work has won several prizes including international photodocumentary of the year, Norway 2013. Her work is shown at the Nobel Peace Centre, Hallingdal Museum and at the Oslo City Hall. She has also participated in several exhibitions in New York and various other exhibitions in Europe. From 2011-2013 she was chosen to be part of Norwegian Journal of Photography, a program supporting 10 independent documentary photographers in Norway. Her latest work from Latvia is now on exhibition in Hamburg, Germany and was selected for the European Photo Exhibition Award.

Linda Bournane Engelberth (born 1977) lives and works in Oslo.

About Photography Day

Every year on a Sunday at the end of August, a day-long celebration of photography takes place at Karljohansvern in Horten, free entrance. Preus Museum works with Norwegian photography organizations to create a day that reveals the broad range of photography.

The event consists of lots of exhibitions, where the Festival exhibitor and the Juried exhibition are the most important ones. The museum selects a festival exhibitor to illustrate this year's theme in a good way. The exhibitor presents 11 large images on an outdoor exhibition, and also gives a talk during the day. 

A whole host of activities await: classes, workshops and competitions, a portrait studio, theater presentations, used-equipment sales, picnics, music, food, and much more.

Back to Photography day 2015.

Linda Bournane Engelberth gives a talk on her project on Photography Day August 23.

2 PM in the Preus museum's library