Generation Geilo: Emile Holba's portrait of a Norwegian mountain town community

Photographer Emile Holba shot the Generation Geilo: Portrait of a Community chronicles to highlight the thriving social economic diversity of a small mountain town in Norway, which he created over the period of one year. And judging by the photos, there are much worse places to be cold.

The project included many trips back and forth from the UK, where he is based, to ensure all four seasons and their seasonal specific jobs were represented.

The photographer explains: "The mountain town of Geilo, in the municipality of Hol Kommune, is nestled between two of Norway’s most outstanding areas of rugged natural beauty: the National Parks of Hardangervidda & Hallingskarvet. Easily accessible by road — or via one of the world’s most stunning railway journeys —with Oslo 150 miles to the east, and Bergen the same distance to the west, Geilo is an idyllic playground for outdoor adventurers. Famed for its winter sports, it also boasts abundant summer activities such as hiking, fishing and mountain biking.

"My own introduction to the area was distinctly less athletic. I’d been asked to photograph Geilo’s annual Ice Music Festival in early 2009, but that initial 10-day assignment kindled a passion for the region as I discovered a thriving egalitarian spirit amongst the community. The impression it made was lasting, and I’ve returned to Hol Kommune each year since, initially to continue my work with the Ice Music Festival, then helping Visit Geilo to form a new library of images to promote the region. During these repeat visits, my working friendship with Visit Geilo’s Director of Tourism, Pål Knutsson Medhus, deepened.

"Over time, an idea for an ambitious photographic project was born, rooted in a shared desire to create an in-depth social document illustrating the vibrant, complex and diverse economy of Geilo and the surrounding Kommune.

"Born and raised in Hol Kommune, yet well travelled too, Pål was perfectly placed to weigh my ‘outsider’ observations of Geilo, and he leapt on the opportunity to make a formal portrait series detailing the people who have helped shaped this remarkable place. During the summer of 2014 ’Generation Geilo’ was born."

See more of Emile's work at

All images courtesy of Emile Holba


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