Virtual travel

Explore the motherland through your computer screen with SeeNorway’s photos

Photo: Svein By / seenorway.wordpress.com At the very southern tip of “Vesterøya,” outside of Sandefjord, past the end of the road. Just a few very small islands lie between here and the big ocean itself. For more of By and the other photographers’ work (in color!), visit seenorway.wordpress.com/2015/08/29/sandefjord-vesteroy.

Photo: Svein By / www.seenorway.wordpress.com
At the very southern tip of “Vesterøya,” outside of Sandefjord, past the end of the road. Just a few very small islands lie between here and the big ocean itself. For more of By and the other photographers’ work (in color!), visit www.seenorway.wordpress.com/2015/08/29/sandefjord-vesteroy.

Molly Jones
Norwegian American Weekly

Ever wondered what the hometown of your Norwegian grandparents looks like, but don’t have the time or the means to visit? That’s where Svein By and his SeeNorway blog (www.seenorway.wordpress.com) come in.

Back in 2012, retired Norwegian Svein By read an article about Americans and Canadians with Norwegian heritage and was inspired to start a blog where he would present various locations in Norway through photography.

“When one goes into retirement, it’s kind of important that one has something to do substituting regular work. And since I’ve always had photography as my primary hobby, it was time to enter the digital world! At the same time I read an article stating that today there are approximately five million Americans with Norwegian heritage living in the U.S. and Canada. My first thought was that there must be a rather large number of grandchildren and other relatives curious about the places where their grandparents came from. So why couldn’t I try to present it to them?” he thought.

Photo: Svein By / www.seenorway.wordpress.com The City Bridge in Drammen as the sun sets one late evening.

Photo: Svein By / www.seenorway.wordpress.com
The City Bridge in Drammen as the sun sets one late evening.

By’s background in blogging and amateur photography helped him to get started on his retirement project: “Since I received an invitation to start a blog on the VG Network in Oslo one day in 2004, I have had rather solid knowledge in this area having blogged ever since. My first camera I bought back in 1954 and I have been shooting pictures or films ever since, but I have no formal education in the field. What I do is a result of what I have experienced over the years. However, there is no doubt that digital photography really got me going. Since then I must have shot something like 120,000 pictures!” he said.

Since then, the SeeNorway blog has developed from a small hobby to a growing blog with more than 5,000 pictures—available in full screen up to 60 inches—and visited by people located in over 150 countries worldwide. All of the images are accompanied by captions in Norwegian and English, allowing By to keep up on his English and his content to be more accessible to his target audience in the U.S.—and for students of Norwegian to practice their comprehension.

Because there are so many posts and pictures available on SeeNorway, By suggests using the index to find images of specific locations without needing to sort through the archives. To access the index, simply click on the INDEX link at the bottom of any post. In the index, the subjects are listed under their respective counties, arranged alphabetically, along with information on how many images are included and which photographer (listed as a three-letter code) shot the photos. Once you have determined which post you would like to view, click on the GOTO link located next to the subject.

Photo: Svein By / www.seenorway.wordpress.com Once upon the time there were warehouses with piers here on this very tiny island not far from Landfalløya; what you see here is all that is left from that time.

Photo: Svein By / www.seenorway.wordpress.com
Once upon the time there were warehouses with piers here on this very tiny island not far from Landfalløya; what you see here is all that is left from that time.

Alternatively, you can use the search box on the right side of the page to search by subject or the code for your favorite photographer. Keep in mind though, that By (SRB) has contributed the vast majority of the photos, so this feature will only work well for the other photographers, who have voluntarily submitted their photographs from their regions.

“Through the years I’ve had more than a dozen such helpers, but they come and go. I couldn’t have done it without them. That said, these donated pictures count for about 10% of the total. The rest are mine!

“Most of them have their own blogs where they publish pictures (just like I do), but when I come across somebody that really shoots quality photos, I usually send them an invitation to show their pictures via SeeNorway. And since my blog is for the time being read in more than 150 countries worldwide, many accept this invitation as my blog will function as a gallery to the world for such pictures,” said By of his partnerships.

By enjoys working on SeeNorway and hopes to attract more Norwegian-American visitors who are interested in learning about the beautiful homes of their ancestors.

“To take such pictures that’ll make you gasp in admiration, you need to live in the right area, know what you are doing, and have the time and opportunity to do just that. Then you get pictures that will never die!” said the passionate blogger.

To learn more about the SeeNorway blog and view photographs from all around Norway, visit www.seenorway.wordpress.com/index.

This article originally appeared in the May 20, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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