Photobook of Norway  
 
7 August 2017

Dedicated to my loving wife, Lila



Few countries evoke awe in Nature as does Norway. Strung out along the western extreme of Scandinavia, its mountains and fjords are testament to the unimaginable geomorphological processes and upheavals that took place here millions of years ago. Many may envy the Norwegians who have been ensconced in the grandeur of the land for centuries, plying the traditional and often perilous trades of fishing, lumbering and eking out a living from a land, very little of which is arable. It’s a truism to say that climate and geography shape the destiny of a people, but in Norway’s case it is particularly acute: bordered by the wild and treacherous North and Norwegian seas in the west and north, mercifully her coast is not icebound thanks to the warmer Gulf Stream.
     The devotion to aesthetic principles, to mood, to the fleeting moment fills Günther Komnick’s intimate photographic exploration of Norway, a celebration of its mythical landscape and people. In these pages one can recognize the fastidious order of human landscape as if to harmonize it with the overwhelming and ever-present force of Nature.
     Architecturally one notes the easy fusion of the traditional with the modern especially in the ecclesiastical buildings. A highly secular country, Christianity came relatively late to Scandinavia, and the famed brave Norsemen sailed from here to conquer and pillage and introduce new ideas and ways of living, from Newfoundland to Sicily, from the British Isles to Normandy. The influence and impact of the people from this land had been for long overshadowed by the might of Rome in the history books.
Norway’s neighbour and ruler was for centuries Denmark, with Norway only gaining independence in 1905. And, along with Denmark, it endured one of the longest Nazi occupations during the Second World War. Norway’s resistance to foreign domination became the stuff of legend, as she resisted the invader from April 1940 to May 1945.
     Günther Komnick's images capture the haunting grandeur of Norway’s landscape and centuries of history. Such images are deftly interwoven here with others that speak of simplicity, and of a close day-to-day bond with an extraordinary, spellbinding environment.

Dr Wilhelm Snyman, Cape Town, 2017