Norwegian photographer Arne Normann left his wife, children and newborn lambs in 1946 to travel all over Norway in a 1946 Chevrolet van with darkroom and bed in an assignment to make the best postcards from Norway. Between 1946 and 1990 he took approximately 300,000 pictures of Norwegian scenes.
In earlier times, you would not have traveled if you had not sent a postcard to family or friends back home. And many of the postcards that were posted in the last century had photographs taken by father and son Carl and Arne Normann, among Norway’s most prolific postcard photographers of all time.
Related: The World of Ski Photography
Despite texting and emailing, travelers still send postcards. Through the years, three Norwegian postcards have become venerable favorites. In sales, the all-time star is Seterjentens søndag (Milkmaid’s Sunday – feature image on top), featuring a black-and-white photo taken in 1932. More than two million have been sold. The photographer is said to be Fredric Hanche, but the publisher was Normanns Kunstforlag, founded by Carl Normann in 1906. (feature image on top).
Normann’s art publishing company was for many years one of the largest companies in sales and postcard production in Norway together with Aune and Mittet. The company was sold to Fjellanger Widerøe in the 80s and is today owned by Swedish Pictura AB.
Best of Norway in Glorious Pictures
The book, Best of Norway in Glorious Pictures, is supplemented by text written by Inge Stikholmen filled with informative facts about the country. Majestic fjords, waterfalls, glaciers, green valleys, renowned ski slopes, charming coastal towns, and a culture-laden city capital are only an introductory indication of what Norway has to offer.
“The postcards made by father and son Normann are of the very best and most important ones made, also photographically,” says art historian and author Ivar Ulvestad.
Father and son Normann
Carl Normann was 16 years old when his mother, stepfather and siblings emigrated to the United States in the early 1900s. Carl did not want to go and stayed in Norway. On bicycle he traveled all around the country and took pictures with his Ernemann glass plate camera.
The Best of Postcards from Norway
In 1035, an extensive archive of images that he had taken over more than 30 years burned, and Carl and his son Arne had to go on tour again with their Linhof cameras. In the years following the war, Arne Normann had around 250 travel days a year.
On July 30, 1990, Arne Normann was a passenger in a Cessna plane over Lillehammer. Arne Normann, 78, perished together with the pilot and another photographer.
More images at Digital Museum
The Best of Postcards from Norway, written by Tor Kjolberg
All images © Normann Kunstforlag A/S