Laara Matsen

Laara Matsen has a BA in Photography from Bard College and began her career as a photo editor at Magnum Photos in New York in 1997, later working as a multi-faceted supporter and producer of long-term documentary photo projects. She has edited and curated numerous international exhibitions and photo books, and was photo editor at D2 Magazine/Dagens Næringsliv for 8 years. Laara is co-editor of The Norwegian Journal of Photography, and co-founder of Lumina Gallery and Mentor Program in Oslo. She is also on the faculty of Bilder Nordic School of Photography.

Subjective Documentary


The mission of the Norwegian Journal of Photography is to showcase the strongest documentary photography being produced in Norway. Recently, the term “documentary photography” has become evermore broad in its definition, at times sparking great debate and disagreement between two polarities: those who believe that photography can never be truly objective, and those who view this movement as a breakdown of the photographer’s role as the reliable witness.

Despite this debate, an increasing number of photographers are combining “art” and “evidence” to create important and effective narratives that comment on current events, investigate cultural histories, and invoke social change. Laara Matsen, co-founder and co-editor of The Norwegian Journal of Photography will introduce Linda Bournane Engelberth and Terje Abusdal, two former NJP photographers who use subjective photography and the mergence of fact and fiction in narrative storytelling. After looking at their work, we will have a brief moderated discussion after which we will open up the floor for comments.



About The Norwegian Journal of Photography:

The Norwegian Journal of Photography was established in 2011 as an initiative of Fritt Ord to bring together and support carefully selected Norwegian documentary photographers and their independent visual projects, mentoring them over two years and resulting in a biennial book.

Our objective with the NJP is to create a dynamic, relevant and representative book about Norwegian documentary photography, showcasing the finest visual expressions, combined with powerful storytelling abilities. We encourage photographers to challenge the definition of the concept ‘documentary photography’, while striving to produce robust, consistent and independent visual narratives. The founders and editors of NJP are Rune Eraker, Laara Matsen and Espen Rasmussen.



Linda Bournane Engelberth is a Norwegian/Algerian photographer and artist based in Norway. Her photography focuses on identity through personal and subjective narratives, with a focus on rural communities which are in flux. From 2011-2013, Linda was selected for the first round of the Norwegian Journal of Photography. She is a member of the VII Photo Agency Mentor Program and is currently working on two personal projects exploring both her Norwegian and Algerian roots.


Terje Abusdal (1978) is a visual storyteller and lens-based artist working mainly on independent projects in the intersection between fact and fiction. Terje was selected for the second round of the Norwegian Journal of photography from 2013-2015. He recently received the 2017 Leica Oskar Barnack Award for his project Slash & Burn, which also won the 2017 Nordic Dummy Award. He lives and works in Oslo, Norway.