Based in Norway
Hi, I’m Mal Dickson and I’m a photographer and guide based on the coast of west Norway, north of Bergen and close to the mouth of the mighty Sognefjord, Norway’s longest and deepest. I’m originally from Scotland but came to Norway in 2014 and never looked back.
Through my work I also hope to capture and communicate the spirit of a place, and how it is to be human within it. Since I came to Norway, I have developed a deep appreciation of the benefits of understanding the context - cultural and historical - of what I photograph. I also like to pass on that understanding. That has resulted in a guiding service that I have set up, specializing in Viking history. I have been an active Viking re-enactor since 2015 and was Head of Guiding at Njardarheimr viking village in Gudvangen in 2017-2018.
This place in Møre og Romsdal region has a tradition of boat building that stretches all the way back to the viking age. Norway’s viking heritage is rich and is not all about plundering and pillaging. Present too were features of representative democracy and women’s rights.
The drive across the mountains between Skjolden and Lom is one of the great drives of Norway. Rising from sea level the road takes you to height of over 1300m. It passes by glaciers, where melting ice gives up evidence of those who walked, rather than drove, over the mountain in ancient times.
The stunning view of Aurlandsfjord from the mountain Prest is pretty much ‘Norway in a Nutshell’ – at least west Norway. Steep sided mountains, tiny settlements and farms clinging to the edges. The landscape is beautiful, but historically the life has been hard.
You’ll find goats here in more abundance than people. In the fjord landscape, farming is difficult and land is limited. In this place they make something special - a goats’ milk brown cheese, or brunost – made from the whey of milk, and with a flavour of caramel.
The incredible pink skies of winter in Norway are caused by the snow surface of the mountains refracting light and bending the red end of the spectrum into view more prominently. In seems unreal, but on a cold winter’s morning it will dazzle you for sure.
This magical place was home to the Norwegian painter Nikolai Astrup (1880 – 1928). Using a modernist style, Astrup evoked the traditions and folklore of Norway. Looking at this incredible setting in Jølster, Sunnfjord, it is easy to understand why.
Modern Norway’s infrastructure has led to an incredible network of roads and tunnels in improbable places. Atlanterhavsveien, or Atlantic Road skips like a bouncing flat stone across the edge of the sea on the wild west coast north of Molde.
Dating back to the 1100s, Hopperstad is one of only 28 ‘stave’ churches left in Norway. Its architectural style is deeply rooted in the building techniques of the viking age, and the art and carvings that adorn the nearby Urnes stave church even give their name to the 4th great style - the Urnes style.
Although the sun does dip below the horizon in west Norway in mid-summer, it never truly goes dark, and sunsets can last for hours. This is midnight in the fjords, and the shades of colour and reflections of light and mist are extraordinary.