Sophus Tromholt (1851–1896) was a scientist, teacher and northern lights researcher, but today he is remembered first for a unique series of portraits of the Sámi people living in and around Kautokeino in Norway’s northernmost county Finnmark.

The photo collection is owned by the University of Bergen Library and consists of 231 glass negatives and 189 albumen prints. In 2013, it was included into UNESCO’S Memory of the World Register.


Online Database: Sophus Tromholt Collection at the Department of Special Collections (University Library in Bergen)

For the first International Polar Year in 1882–1883, Tromholt established a private northern lights observatory in the village of Kautokeino. Throughout the winter, he conducted thorough observations, hoping they would solve the mysteries of the aurora borealis. Intrigued, the locals named him Násteolmmái: Starman. Despite repeated attempts, Tromholt had to give up his ambition to photograph the northern lights and instead turned his camera to document his surroundings: the landscape, the traditional life of the Sámi, and the people he met and got to know. Today, his photographic portfolio including around 50 portraits of named individuals is a part of the UNESCO Memory of the World Register, one of only five photographic archives accepted into the programme.

Publisher’s Info

By The Way

Les Filles de Illighadad present their first studio album Eghass Malan. The female led avant rock group hailing from the village of the same name bring their new genre of Tuareg guitar mixed with traditional rural folk. Les Filles are all from Illighadad, a secluded commune in central Niger, far off in the scrubland deserts at the edge of the Sahara.

Publisher: Forlaget Press

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