The project Nora was an assignment from ”The wooden towns in co-operation” who gave the three photographers Lars Tunbjörk, Pieter ten Hoopen and myself free hands to portray three small Swedish wooden towns. The result became the book ”3x3 Eksjö, Hjo, Nora”. 

I had never visited the town Nora before and approached it with an open mind, allowing the story to emerge on the spot. I was there two weeks in July when itinerant antique dealers put up their stalls at the market square and during the day the town centre swarmed with people who filled their bags with an assortment of finds. It was like time had stopped there, I thought during my many walks up and down the little streets. I felt the tranquility and comfort in the picturesque and the cosiness, and in the warmth of the people. I met; but also a creepy feeling of being cooped-up. 

I was seven months pregnant and had just recently bought a house with my husband. Recurring in the meeting with this detail-rich wooden town, its trades and people, and the interiors carefully decorated by the inhabitants, was exactly what I was doing myself, i.e the construction of a Home. I felt some ambivalence for the expectations that would follow my new role as a mother and woman in the house. The Nora inhabitants’ passion for bourgeois turn-of-the century aestethics spontaneously made me think of Ibsens’ classic play ”A Dolls House”, where the main character - who is actually called Nora - rebels against the stifling role as a woman, wife and mother, that she she plays in her seemingly perfect home.

Elin Berge