Up Close: The Jump

The Holmenkollen ski jump was first opened in 1892, and quickly became one of Norway’s iconic landmarks. David Ryle follows some of the skiers taking on the challenge.

  • Words + Photography: David Ryle
  • Art Direction: Gemma Fletcher

I’ve always been fascinated with ski jumping. Apart from it being terrifying, it seems like there’s a lot of grace to it. Being at the Holmenkollen hill was fascinating. It looms over the city of Oslo, and whilst you’re on the top you get a beautiful view of the archipelago. I had seen pictures of the hill and loved the architecture so wanted to make this project not only about the people, but also about the surroundings too.

We met with the ski jumpers Jorgen and Johan the day before shooting began – they were really relaxed about everything. We had to fit into their schedule and didn’t want to disturb them whilst they were at the top of the hill, at the point where they needed to concentrate. I definitely didn’t want to be responsible for one of their jumps going wrong. They’re highly skilled and very competent, but they aren’t competing at world championship level yet; they are still progressing through the ranks. They seem very focused on their tasks and have quite a routine to make sure each jump is done in the correct way. As with so many sports, repetition and following a plan are crucial for success.

David Ryle is a photographer living in London

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