Spotlight Award 2022 | Line Ørnes Søndergaard (eng)

Spotlight Award Winner 2022Line Ørnes Søndergaard
The Split - A Brexit Love Story

The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union is one of the most dramatic political events of our time. This project takes the audience through a labyrinth of causes leading to Brexit, aiming to move beyond the headlines and present a more nuanced and complex narrative about polarization and political disruption.

Aleksandra from Lithuania works in a factory. She is a single mom and has just fallen in love. Albert is a retired fisherman, widower and ready to have fun. They both reside in the same English town, but live totally separate lives. In no other town did more inhabitants vote to leave the EU than in Boston, Lincolnshire. The catalyst was a growing discontent with the increasing number of migrant workers coming from eastern Europe, but underneath the surface was also a built-up frustration with widespread poverty and political powerlessness.

The photographer Line Ørnes Søndergaard and the writer Yohan Shanmugaratnam followed Aleksandra, Albert and Boston from the time leading up to the referendum and through the following years of turbulence, until Brexit went into effect on January 1st, 2021.

In this project we get to know both sides of the story: on one hand, the photographer helps us to look beyond stereotypes, politicians and pundits, and on the other, to get closer to people who actually have something at stake.

This work started as an ongoing reportage series because of an assignment from the Norwegian newspaper “Klassekampen”. This is a story about opening borders and closing minds, about class and identity, solidarity and distrust. And about love, loss and the need to belong.

Photo copyright: © Line Ørnes Søndergaard 

Line Ørnes Søndergaard (1986) is a project based photographer with a background in film, television and documentary. She holds an BA in photojournalism from Oslo Metropolitan University in 2015.

Søndergaard´s work moves in the intersection between documentary and art and deals with social and political issues, often using intimate encounters as the framework for her projects. With a consistent tone of condition and standstill she seeks to convey the emotional aspect of the situation people find themselves in, looking for resemblance. Her intimate photographic approach has received attention in the photographic landscape and awarded at large: Norwegian Picture of The Year, Picture Of the Year International, The Lucie Foundation and NPPA Best of Photojournalism award. Søndergaard has been selected for prestigious programs such as World Press Photo’s Joop Swartz Masterclass, Norwegian Journal of Photography e VII Photo Mentor program. Her work has been widely published and exhibited and is a part of the permanent collection of Preus National Museum of Photography, Norway. The book about this project titled Bruddet (NO) (Press, 2021) realized together with writer Yohan Shanmugaratnam has received flattering reviews and coverage upon its release.


Lodi, Palazzo Barni, Vittorio Emanuele II, 17