Ski-jumping used to be one of the most popular sports in Norway. As a little boy in the 1950s, the Norwegian photographer Espen Tveit (76) was interested in ski jumps – perhaps to a greater extent in the facilities themselves than in the sport that is practiced in them.
The photo book Norwegian Ski-jumps was created after he read that a ski jump on Skiptvedt was to be demolished. Curious, he traveled to look at it and discovered that the scaffolding looked like an exciting wooden sculpture. This is how Norwegian ski jumps became an art project.
Related: The Legendary Norwegian Ski Race
Today there are only 200 inrun towers left in the country, most of them on the road to destruction. During a couple of years photographer Espen Tveit photographed most of them. His black and white photographs, printed in triotone, are mysterious and beautiful.
“I have waited for cloudy weather, photographed in rain and climbed in rugged terrain. The old ski-jumps were steeper than the new ones and only few had stairs to climb. I had a standing joke during this period: if anyone asked me how I was doing, I replied that my life had its ups and downs,” said Espen Tveit.
He admits that the pictures of the abandoned ski jumps evoke a certain feeling of sadness. The sport of jumping does not have the same popular appeal as it once had. “Several of the jumps have also been demolished since I started the project,” says Tveit.
Espen Tveit was born in Drammen in 1945. He grew up in an art and literature-oriented family, became a teacher and studied photography. He says he is an analog photographer who likes to work with series over a long period of time.
He has published six books: 80-talls runer (Runes from the 80s) 1989, Samtidsarkeologi (Contemporary archeology) 1997, Rite (2001), Fra siden/Side-Lines (2011), Samtidsarkeologi 2 (2013) and Norwegian Ski-Jumps (2016). The latter published by Journal.
Norwegian Ski-jumps, written by Tor Kjolberg
All images © Espen Tveit, except feature image (on top): Olav Ulland, Gustav Raaum, Alf Engen, and Kjell Stordalen perform a four-person simultaneous ski jump at Sun Valley, Idaho, in December 1948. Credit: courtesy of National Nordic Museum