Jonas Bendiksen is a Norwegian photojournalist based near Oslo. He has published the books Satellites
(2006) and The Places We Live
(2008) and received awards from World Press Photo
, International Center of Photography
, National Magazine Awards and Pictures of the Year International. Bendiksen became a Magnum Photos
nominee in 2004 and a member in 2008. In 2010 he was its president.
Bendiksen was born in Tønsberg, in Vestfold county, southern Norway, on 8 September 1977. He lived in Russia for several years. The time he spent there resulted in his book, Satellites
- Photographs from the Fringes of the former Soviet Union, about separatist republics in the former USSR, published in 2006. For three years he photographed slum communities in Nairobi in Kenya, Mumbai in India, Jakarta in Indonesia, and Caracas in Venezuela, for The Places We Live
, a book published in 2008, and an exhibition containing projections and voice recordings.
Thinking back on the series of events, and “ill-advised” actions he undertook as a photographer in his 20s, Jonas Bendiksen says one of the driving forces of his landmark project, Satellites
, was luck. Happening to be in a specific place, at a specific time, is what led the photographer to make some of the series’ most unique and most memorable images. Yet, through all of his reflections on the project, it’s clear that a keen sense of observation, determination in the execution of an idea, and a certain streak of recklessness were all part of the mix.
During the collapse of the Soviet Union, economic, political and ethnic disparities gave birth to a series of lesser-known unrecognized republics, national aspirations, and legacies. Crafted from a series of Bendiksen’s photoessays made from 1999 to 2005, Satellites documented these places in transition. Six regions undergoing great social shifts formed the six chapters of the book: the “non-existent” state of Transdniester; the beach resort of Abkhazia; the contested region of Nagorno-Karabakh; the Fergana Valley, lying across Uzbekistan, Kyrgyztan and Tajikstan; the spaceship crash zones of the Altai Territory; and the Jewish Autonomous Region of Birobidzhan. Through this collection of vignettes, little-seen in the West at the time, Bendiksen provided an insight into how daily life was lived in liminal places, documenting communities that were experienced the breakdown of Soviet communism in varying ways.
Jonas Bendiksen’s sharply evocative images explore themes of community, faith and identity with unsparing honesty. He has made major bodies of work all over the world, at the same time as he always also photographs the daily rhythms of life at home. As well as many critically acclaimed long-form projects he has also produced significant work for many commercial and editorial clients.
Bendiksen most recent book The Last Testament
from 2017 told the story of seven men who all claimed to be the biblical Messiah returned to earth. His editorial clients include magazines such as National Geographic
, Stern, TIME Magazine
, The Sunday Times
Magazine, The Guardian Weekend. On the commercial side, he has done projects for HSBC, Canon, FUJI, BCG, Red Bull and Land Rover.
Bendiksen lives with his wife and three children outside Oslo, Norway.
Source: Magnum Photos