While the Plum Trees Grow
by Lars Nordby, Erik Nordby, Knut Nordby and Karima Risk

Publishing by ARV.International
First published, 2021 ©
ISBN: 978-619-188-566-4

Printed books: 200
Sewn pages: 320 / Full color
Size: 210x275mm
Hard Cover: Matt laminated 300 g/m2
Body: Matt laminated 170 g/m2

Language: English and Bulgarian
Accompanying texts by Luchezar Boyadjiev and Hanna Gjelten Hattrem

“This book is a photographic story of three Norwegian artists in Bulgaria. We follow the everyday life of my father, Knut Nordby, my uncle, Erik Nordby, and my uncle’s partner, Karima Risk, from 2003 to 2016. The story takes place in the Veliko Turnovo region, specifically in the rural village of Vishovgrad, where they established their home and atelier. Through their lenses, we get insight into a post-communist state frozen in time, yet in vast alternation with western development. The photographs capture vernacular architecture, interiors, spontaneous and carefully composed moments - everything dictated by local conditions.”
- Lars Nordby, Preface (excerpt)

“First, the laboring men gather outside the shop with their machine coffees, waiting or hoping to get picked up for a day’s work. Then come the retired generation, the babas and diados, who take up the outside tables for their daily gatherings of chatter over coffee. From around mid- day, activity slows to a crunching halt. Too hot to work or to do much at all, it is the hour of pochivka in the village, the hour of rest. It’s considered madness to work at this hour, and if you’re busting about the village trying to get things done, people tell you to go home and rest for a while and to come back later. As the afternoon sets in, there is a sudden surge of activity again. The laborers finish off their af- ternoon sessions and head to the shop for their post-work beer. Around the same time, the women and children flood to the shop to buy supplies for dinner. We call this ”lud o’clock” - the hour of madness, not due to heat, but the sheer intensity of life down at the shop.”
- Hanna Gjelten Hattrem, Snapshots of Living (excerpt)

“The photographic material – abundant and multifaceted as it is, is a visual story about my country, such as it is/was in the last nearly 20 years. But it does not look like a story visually ”written” by an outsider, a foreigner, or worse – a conqueror, a colonizer, or such. It seems like a story by someone who came as a... what? Certainly not as a guest! Unlike myself, who was invited to guest-write for this story, the original Vikings of our book just came to Bulgaria uninvited, and they stayed. But unlike the historical Vikings and the mythology/history related to their ”travels,” our couple paid to see their dreams come true. That did not make them guests, but it did not make them locals either, at least not initially. But they were neither conquerors, not colonizers, nor explorers, not tourists, nor anything of the sort.”
- Luchezar Boyadjiev, A Blind Date with a Country (excerpt)