"For me, the greatest thing with photography is that I get to explore peoples lives and the ability I have to share the stories with as many as possible"
About / Biography
Espen Rasmussen (b. 1976) is based in Nesodden, close to Oslo, Norway. He is constantly working on his own photo projects, focusing especially on long-term humanitarian issues and the challenges related to climate change. He is represented by Panos Pictures.
In 2008, he was listed by Photo District News on the prestigious PDN’s 30 New and Emerging Photographers to Watch.
He has won numerous awards for his work, including two prizes from World Press Photo, several in the Picture of the Year International (POYI) awards, and 32 nods in the Norwegian Picture of the Year awards.
In 2007, Espen received USD$60,000 from the Freedom of Expression Foundation to continue his long-term project on refugees and IDPs around the world, which was published in the book “TRANSIT” in 2011 and shown in a major exhibition.
His work has appeared in magazines such as Time, Newsweek, National Geographic, Der Spiegel and the Economist, as well as newspapers such as The Sunday Telegraph and New York Times.
Commissions / Image Galleries
In 2013, Costa del Sol as a whole received 9.5 million tourists, a large number of them from the UK. Of the approximately 72,000 permanent inhabitants registered in the municipality, 25% come from other countries, mainly European, including England, Ireland, Scotland, Finland and Sweden. Fuengirola is one of three mega-resorts that occupies this stretch of the Spanish coastline. Fuengirola runs for around 10km along the coast. Many accounts of these resorts refer to them as ‘former fishing villages’, but due to the intensive developments of hotels and apartments, almost nothing remains of the former villages. In spite of the resulting ‘concrete jungle’, the resort is extremely popular with hundreds of thousands of visitors returning year after year.
Tougher, harder, longer and more painful. This seems to be the mantra of many extreme sports that are becoming increasingly popular amongst men in their forties. Running a marathon used to be considered quite an achievement. Nowadays, you're not a "real man" unless you've attempted (and ideally finished) an extreme sport event, Tough Guy, The Great Trial of Strength, Norse Man or The Ultimate Run. The project ”Pain” takes a closer look at the current phenomenon of pushing the body to its limits.
Describe the moment when photography changed your life.
It was when I worked with a three-month-long project in one of the biggest prisons in Oslo, Norway. I was 22 years old, and I was allowed to walk freely among the inmates. They were sentenced for murder, rape, arson and other serious crimes. With my camera and a notebook, I was able to witness their life in prison, listen to their side of the story, and document something that no one had seen before. They trusted me and allowed me to take part in all sides of their controlled life. The story was printed across twelve pages in the largest weekend magazine in Norway. This made me realize what I could do with a camera in my hand, how important it is to work in-depth with stories and what photography can achieve.
Describe what kind of photographer you consider yourself to be.
I consider myself to be a documentary photographer, even though I prefer not to put photography and photographers into categories.
If you had one word to describe your work, what would that be?
What is the most important photograph or body of work you have worked on to date?
That will be my TRANSIT project, which I worked on for seven years, documenting the daily lives of refugees and displaced people around the world. This was presented as a book and exhibitions in different locations in Europe.
Give us your top three "must-do" photo assignments or personal projects you want to someday shoot.
Water -- the basis for all life on this planet. I would like to see how people relate to water, how we use it, and how we destroy it. Stateless immigrants in Norway -- as the richest country in the world, Norway has between 10,000 to 15,000 immigrants living here with no papers and with no rights. This is a story that I have been thinking on for a long time. Another project would be the rise of neo-Nazism in Europe.
What do you think about the Global Imaging Ambassadors program?
I think it's good that a camera producer shows such deep interest in the work I and other photographers do. For me, it is important that the work I do reaches out to as many people as possible. When people open their doors for me, I make them one promise: I will do whatever I can to get the story out. In this way, the Ambassadors program is helping to bring stories out to people.
What is your favorite feature about the Sony RX1 or other Sony products you have used?
The small size of the camera and the huge size of the files it produces. I enjoy working with a camera that doesn’t scream "photographer".
Digital viewfinder for RX1
Notebook and pens
Sennheiser wireless microphones
Røde on-camera microphone