Lonely Planet Writer

A photographer has documented amazing abandoned houses above the Arctic Circle

A photographer has shared a series of images that showcase a range of beautiful abandoned buildings across northern Norway set against the rugged backdrop of the surrounding natural landscape.

A beautiful abandoned building set against fog in north Norway.
A beautiful abandoned building set against fog in north Norway. Image by Britt M.
A building sitting overlooking water in north Norway.
A building sitting overlooking water in north Norway. Image by Britt M.
A shack with peeling paint sitting abandoned in north Norway.
A shack with peeling paint sitting abandoned in north Norway. Image by Britt M.

Taken by Britt Marie Bye during three separate road trips around the counties of Nordland and Troms last year, the new series captures a diverse range of forgotten buildings and houses across the picturesque region of Norway that lies above the Arctic Circle. The project saw the photographer spending three weeks in total moving through and documenting different locations.

The photographer discovered her love for documenting abandoned buildings after discovering a small cottage in the forest.
The photographer discovered her love for documenting abandoned buildings after discovering a small cottage in the forest. Image by Britt M.
Britt's work aims to tell the story of each building she visits.
Britt’s work aims to tell the story of each building she visits. Image by Britt M.
The new series of images were taken in the northern part of Norway above the Arctic Circle.
The new series of images were taken in the northern part of Norway above the Arctic Circle. Image by Britt M.

A few years ago, Britt suffered from an infection that broke down her immune system, making it difficult for her to socialise or be around crowds of people. During her treatment, she found the calming beauty of the Scandinavian nature to be a welcome escape, and it was there that she stumbled upon her interest in photographing derelict buildings. “On one of my many forest trips, I came across a small cottage. It was all alone, as I felt at the time. I walked inside and found a home, left ages ago, but still ever present. There was books, clothes, furniture, cookware and linen on the beds. I returned later with my camera and started photographing it all, wondering why this place had been abandoned,” she told Lonely Planet Travel News.

Britt's work has amassed thousands of followers on Instagram.
Britt’s work has amassed thousands of followers on Instagram. Image by Britt M.
The photographer avoided shooting on sunny days in order to portray a melancholy feel throughout the series.
The photographer avoided shooting on sunny days in order to portray a melancholy feel throughout the series. Image by Britt M.
The photographer only used the natural light available to her throughout the process.
The photographer only used the natural light available to her throughout the process. Image by Britt M.

After finding the first cottage, the photographer began a journey that saw her documenting farms, houses, cabins and cottages that lay forgotten in the area. Her health improved, and the project grew in scale and saw her travelling to the south-east part of Norway, exploring along the Swedish border before going north. “These places became my refuge during difficult times and I feel the need to keep telling their stories, to keep them in our present even though there were left in the past,” Britt said.

The series includes farms, cabins, cottages and houses left abandoned in the region.
The series includes farms, cabins, cottages and houses left abandoned in the region. Image by Britt M.
Britt found the remnants of lives left behind in many of the buildings she explored.
Britt found the remnants of lives left behind in many of the buildings she explored. Image by Britt M.
Britt said that she wanted to convey the diverse beauty of the natural light in the area.
Britt said that she wanted to convey the diverse beauty of the natural light in the area. Image by Britt M.

As well as wishing to convey the story of each abandoned building, Britt was inspired by the diversity of the light available throughout the different seasons in the region. “In the summer, I experienced the powerful midnight sun, the sudden fog that rushes down from the mountain tops to meet the glistening sun reflected by the ocean’s surface and the shadow play caused by the tall pointy mountains. I had never experienced natural light like that before.”

An abandoned shack above the Arctic Circle.
An abandoned shack above the Arctic Circle. Image by Britt M.
The images will be showcased in a book on abandoned buildings in Norway.
The images will be showcased in a book on abandoned buildings in Norway. Image by Britt M.
Britt said that the abandoned buildings were a refuge for her during a difficult time in her life.
Britt said that the abandoned buildings were a refuge for her during a difficult time in her life. Image by Britt M.

Having just signed a book deal with a published in Norway, Britt plans to travel to the remaining parts of Norway that she has not visited yet and collecting images for the series. More of her work is available on her website and Facebook page.