Brother | Sister by photographer Elin Høyland

A moving new photobook from Elin Høyland captures the now solitary life of Edvard Bjedlland, living in a remote part of the south-west coast of Norway

Edvard in Bergit's house, from Brother Sister by Elin Høyland

Edvard and his sister Bergit grew up with their parents and four other siblings in a traditional rural farmhouse in Brusand, Norway. He is the fourth generation of his family to have owned the farm, once home to hundreds of livestock. All his siblings have since left, and the land surrounding the farmhouse – a listed building – is now rented out.

Edvard in his home, from Brother Sister by Elin Høyland
Edvard Bjelland, from Brother Sister by Elin Høyland
Edvard
Edvard’s house, from Brother Sister by Elin Høyland
From Brother Sister by Elin Høyland
From Brother Sister by Elin Høyland

After several years in the city of Stavangr, his sister Bergit returned, and they lived together until she had a new house built nearby in the 1970s. Bergit passed away in 2011, and Edvard now looks after her house.

Bergit's house, from Brother Sister by Elin Høyland
Bergit’s house, from Brother Sister by Elin Høyland
Bergit's house, from Brother Sister by Elin Høyland
Bergit’s house, from Brother Sister by Elin Høyland
Bergit's house, from Brother Sister by Elin Høyland
Bergit’s house, from Brother Sister by Elin Høyland

A glint in the eye draws the viewer into Høyland’s portraits of Edvard, where the sense of loss is perhaps most deeply felt. And yet it is almost as palpable in the images of the personal objects and empty rooms in both houses, hers just as she left it.

Portrait of Edvard Bjelland, from Brother Sister by Elin Høyland
Portrait of Edvard Bjelland, from Brother Sister by Elin Høyland
Edvard
Edvard’s house, from Brother Sister by Elin Høyland
Edvard's house, from Brother Sister by Elin Høyland
Edvard’s house, from Brother Sister by Elin Høyland
Edvard in his house, from Brother Sister by Elin Høyland
Edvard in his house, from Brother Sister by Elin Høyland

A section of text in the middle of the publication by Gaunte Heivoll captures the privately melancholic yet matter of fact tone of Edvard’s story.

“…He carried everything in and set it down on the polished floors. The rest she bought new. He helped her carry in the sofa, the coffee table the cupboards and cabinets. He saw how nicely it turned out. Everything was clean and new, there was a bathroom and a laundry room, a guestroom in the basement, a kitchen with shiny taps … It occurred to him that he had not known who she was. And that it was too late,” Heivoll writes.

“…He looks over at the floral wallpaper. It is as though the flowers have grown now she is gone, that they are gradually spreading out across the walls, across the sofa and cushions and will eventually take over the whole house. He notices the smell of the cowshed he carries on him. He sits there for a long time, touching nothing,” Heivoll continues.

Bergit's house, from Brother Sister by Elin Høyland
Bergit’s house, from Brother Sister by Elin Høyland
Bergit's house, from Brother Sister by Elin Høyland
Bergit’s house, from Brother Sister by Elin Høyland
Bergit's house, from Brother Sister by Elin Høyland
Bergit’s house, from Brother Sister by Elin Høyland

Uneasy, sad, peaceful, nostalgic – Høyland’s series incites a mix of emotions, telling a story of two very different characters who lived apart, yet together, in this remote part of the world.

Brother | Sister is from Dewis Lewis, £30 

dewilewis.com

elinhoyland.com

Edvard in Bergit's house, from Brother Sister by Elin Høyland
Edvard in Bergit’s house, from Brother Sister by Elin Høyland
From Brother Sister by Elin Høyland
From Brother Sister by Elin Høyland
From Brother Sister by Elin Høyland
From Brother Sister by Elin Høyland

 

  • scottpoulson

    Achingly beautiful photographs. Remind me of my grandfather’s house. They decorated in the early 50s when they moved in and it pretty much stayed like that.