An Intimate Portrait of Norwegian Pop Pioneers

An Intimate Portrait of Norwegian Pop Pioneers

The other day, I stumbled across one of the books in my bookshelves: a-ha Photographs 1994 -2010. This is an intimate portrait of the Norwegian pop pioneers as seen through the lens of Norwegian photographer Stian Andersen.

With tons of great photos, this is a magnificent work and a heavyweight book (over 2 kg), unfortunately containing very little text. The popular Norwegian trio recorded ten albums and made global pop history with over 60 million sold copies.

An Intimate Portrait of Norwegian Pop Pioneers
This is a magnificent work and a heavyweight book (over 2 kg)

Related: Norwegian Pop Group A-Ha Visits Copenhagen’s Tivoli Festival

Fantastic black and white photos
Stian Andersen is the only photographer who has followed the Norwegian pop adventure a-ha this intimate and close, and it resulted in a book which is illustrated with fantastic photos in black and white about the band.

An Intimate Portrait of Norwegian Pop Pioneers
a-ha Morten Harket in Santiago de Chile

The band featured Morten Harket on vocals, Magne “Mags” Furuholmen on keyboard and Pål Waaktaar on guitar. From 1994 and right up until the 2010 farewell tour, Stian Andersen was closer to the band and the boys than anyone else before him. He shot the band’s different album covers and promotional photos as well as travelling with the band across the globe on numerous world tours.

Related: Norwegian Pop-Group a-ha is back

An Intimate Portrait of Norwegian Pop Pioneers
From concerts in London and Rio

His longest project ever
“I have never spent as long on a project as on this one. Creating a book with photos of a-ha is different from what is done about Turboneger, for example. It’s more closed, there’s more history, the backstage area is more sacred. While I was doing my job, I haven’t seen any other photographers or members of the press backstage,” said Stian Andersen in a statement.

You may think the three musicians, who first became a band in 1982, would have nothing to learn about each other after so many years of touring, but Andersen’s photographs of their lives on the road, brought out something that even surprised its subjects.

An Intimate Portrait of Norwegian Pop Pioneers
Audience at a concert in, Osaka, Japan

Related: Mythical Norwegian Electro Pop Wizard from Oz

Twenty different countries
For this book, he travelled with the band to twenty cities in twelve different countries to places like Tokyo, Osaka, Rio, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile, Minsk, Moscow, London and New Jersey – in cars, private jets, hotel rooms, recording studios, on stage and backstage.

An Intimate Portrait of Norwegian Pop Pioneers
a-ha in black and white

An Intimate Portrait of Norwegian Pop Pioneers, written by Tor Kjolberg

Feature image (on top): a-ha in Royal Albert Hall, London

All photos © Stian Andersen

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Journalist, PR and marketing consultant Tor Kjolberg has several degrees in marketing management. He started out as a marketing manager in Scandinavian companies and his last engagement before going solo was as director in one of Norway’s largest corporations. Tor realized early on that writing engaging stories was more efficient and far cheaper than paying for ads. He wrote hundreds of articles on products and services offered by the companies he worked for. Thus, he was attuned to the fact that storytelling was his passion.