In 1906, a lighthouse desparately needed to be built on Kråkenes, a rocky, knife-like promontory jutting from the northwestern tip of the island of Vågsøy in Vestland County, Norway.
Enter Anders Folkestadås (1865-1914), a foreman in the Norwegian lighthouse service.
As if building a lighthouse on a gigantic, lonely and dangerously waveswept rock wasn’t enough hard work, Folkestadås took with him his heavy plate glass camera gear; the wooden box of a camera, the glass slides, the cloth to hide under when taking photos, a heavy tripod to keep the whole contraption still and the toxic chemicals required to prepare and develop the images from the exposed slides.
The pictures Folkestadås’s took serve us up a brief and fragmentary vison of an obscure and niche world. The life, work and death of Vestland’s lighthouse people at the turn of the century.
Folkestadås was involved in the construction of several lighthouses along the coast of Norway. As well as leading the construction of Kråkenes lighthouse in Sogn og Fjorane, later in 1910 he worked at, and photographed Sklinna lighthouse in Nord-Trøndelag.
A couple of the photos included here were shot by Anders’ son, Elling Andersson Folkestadås (1895-1947).
The wooden lighthouse that Anders Folkestadås built was destroyed by fire after an Allied air raid in 1945. The current lighthouse now houses a restaurant and has rooms available for overnight stays.
The old glass of Anders Folkestadås has held up well. A century has passed. They are crystal clear.
Images: Fylkesarkivet i Vestland archives, Norway; Wikipedia; Google maps.