A photographer Andrea Gjestvang in her photo project “One Day in History” exposed strong emotions and powerful messages of the survivors of the 2011 Norwegian massacre. Norway, a low-crime country, was under the shock when 69 mostly young people were killed in the shootings in the summer camp, while around 500 survived, many of them seriously wounded. According to the Forbes report, Norway has some of the lowest homicide rates in the world (0.6 homicides per 100,000 people in 2009, comparing to five murders per 100,000 in the US which means that the US has eight times as many homicides.) Just for comparison, only in St. Louis 114 homicides were reported in 2011, while the same number of homicides were reported in this Scandinavian country.
Through visual images, Gjestvang told the story about the survivors who are in the process of emotional and physical healing and who still struggle with the consequences and the memories of the massacre. Even though Gjestvang worked as a photo editor at the time, her storytelling is not journalism in traditional sense, but a project of the series of photographs which is later published as a book. Gjestvang allowed the survivors to decide to what extent they wanted to be exposed to the camera and what were the ways they would like to tell their story. As Brain Storm from MediaStorm would say, through taken photos Gjestvang “conveyed the essence of the human experience in deeply personal, intimate and emotional ways” and therefore her storytelling was not only good but also compelling. Gjestvang allowed the survivors to tell their own stories and express their sorrow, their scars, their weaknesses or their strength. Her visual storytelling about the survivors of the Norwegian massacre allowed the public to connect to the survivors, recognize their feelings and hear their voices. This project tells the story about celebrating life and remembering those who haven’t survived. The survivors told that story, and Gjestvang used the still camera to allow for their voices to be heard.