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How do you take a selfie in Andøya?

London-based photographer Mariell Amélie grew up on Andøya, a Norwegian island in the Arctic Circle. She tells us why her home inspires her evocative self-portraits

  • How do you take a selfie in Andøya?
  • How do you take a selfie in Andøya?
  • How do you take a selfie in Andøya?
  • How do you take a selfie in Andøya?
  • How do you take a selfie in Andøya?
  • How do you take a selfie in Andøya?
  • How do you take a selfie in Andøya?
  • How do you take a selfie in Andøya?
  • How do you take a selfie in Andøya?
  • How do you take a selfie in Andøya?
  • How do you take a selfie in Andøya?
  • How do you take a selfie in Andøya?
  • How do you take a selfie in Andøya?

Photographer Mariell Amélie may now live in London, but her home island of Andøya is still her muse and inspiration. “For me it’s the richest place on Earth in terms of creativity and imagination,” she says. “It really puts your head in a special mood.

“I grew up as an only child, which means you have to learn how to entertain yourself. I grew up fishing with my dad most weekends. We would make flutes out of trees, fish for our food, build a toilet out of sticks, pet wild rabbits and eat wild blueberries. I soon started seeing the nature as my friend, and got more and more fascinated. I would sit for hours just staring at the Atlantic Ocean, thinking what could be out there.”

As a young teenager, she made clothes using her grandmother’s sewing machine, and started collecting clothes from the 1950s to ’70s – but her main inspiration was finding her parents’ Polaroids from the ’60s and ’70s, aged 13. “They were faded and had the most beautiful colours. I just went out into nature and started shooting, followed by hours sitting in front of Photoshop, trying to understand colours and layers.”
By the time she created a Flickr account in 2005, her aim was to “show the world my little island. I felt like I » was the luckiest girl on Earth growing up in this sort of nature, and I wanted everyone to see it.”

She started creating self-portraits because she wanted to tell the story of herself and the landscape, and couldn’t find models. “To be honest, I felt a lot more confident trying out new pictures all alone in the middle of nowhere,” she says. She’s been creating her arresting images every year since 2006, with the majority shot around the wooden houses and vast horizons of Andøya. 

For the first portraits back in 2006, she used a 10-second timer, but today she has a remote control and often the help of her parents. “My mum will make a picnic, my dad will help with the technical stuff, and often we’ll make a day trip of it. In terms of backgrounds, really they choose me.”

Amélie left at 16 to study music and theatre in Sortland, before moving to Oslo and then London – but she still goes back regularly. “I only love the place more and more for every year I don’t live there.”  
 
Norwegian flies to Andenes on Andøya from Oslo. Book flights, a hotel and a rental car at norwegian.com


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