The Hard.Land trailer

The short stories and material published on Hard.Land web site during our journey in the Rust Belt was mostly photos and text.

But we also did a lot of filming. Terrabytes and terrabytes… In fact, many of our stories  will be told by videos. Because of the still photos, text and moving images, the project will be published as an e-book.

The trailer was released during the Dok:14 international photo festival in Fredrikstad, Norway, September 24th . We hope you’ll enjoy it. The editing is (of course) done by Espen Rasmussen.

Hard.Land preview from Espen Rasmussen on Vimeo. Les videre


Detroit burning

It is close to 05AM Tuesday morning and yet another house is burning in Detroit.  40 minutes later the abandoned house at 3328 Dearing street is just a new number in the statistics.

The firefighters of Motor Town are among the busiest and toughest in the world. On a single shift which lasts for 24 hours, Jim Curry and his guys can go from one fire to another for hours.

Les videre

Here we are… the team.

Espen Rasmussen
Espen Rasmussen

Espen Rasmussen (born 1976) is based at Nesodden, close to Oslo, Norway. He works as a photo editor in VG Helg — the weekend magazine of the biggest daily Norwegian newspaper VG. At the same time he is constantly working on his own photo projects. Rasmussen focuses specially on humanitarian issues and the challenges related to climate change. He is represented by Panos Pictures.

Read more about Espen here.


Roy Freddy Andersen
Roy Freddy Andersen

Roy Freddy Andersen (born 1970) is a Norwegian writer/reporter currently working at the House of Literature in Fredrikstad, Norway. Andersen was the U.S. Correspondent for Norway’s largest newspaper VG, based in New York, from 2002-2005. He is following the politics and the situation in the U.S. with great interest. Andersen was a reporter at the foreign desk in VG for several years, travelling and covering breakings news, conflicts and feature news issues world wide.

Read more about Roy here.


This is Hard.Land

Hard.Land is a modern multimedia project – a journey through Blue Collar America to meet the people struggling to keep the American Dream alive: The Middle Class, the unemployed, the new poor, the workers on low or minimum wage – and those who have lost benefits and had a cut in their salaries.

We – The World Press Photo Award photographer Espen Rasmussen and former U.S. Correspondent Roy Freddy Andersen – will March and April 2014 travel from Chicago to New York by car to meet regular people and to see and tell about the consequences of globalization, robotisation and growing inequality in the U.S. Tens of millions of good paid blue collar and industry jobs are replaced with low income service jobs – or none jobs at all. The result is that the once flourishing middle class is shrinking and many are falling into poverty with few chances to climb up on the social ladder again.

This raises several important questions: The American society and its progress is somehow based on and motivated by the dream that you can work yourself up – to create a good home and a better life for yourself and your family.

To quote Carol Graham at the Brookings Institution:

The United States has long been viewed as the “land of opportunity,” where those who work hard get ahead. Belief in this fundamental feature of America’s national identity has persisted, even though inequality has been gradually rising for decades. But, in recent years, the trend toward extremes of income and wealth has accelerated significantly, owing to demographic shifts, the economy’s skills bias, and fiscal policy. Is the collapse of the American dream at hand?

This is issues pivotal to the political agenda, currently raised by the President in his State of the Union speech. To find answers on some of these questions is why Rasmussen and Andersen will go on this journey. We will interview people, regular Americans, about their situation, their dreams and their thoughts about politics, and their hopes for the future.

The results, the stories, will be published in news media outlets and in a world wide distributed e-book, in fall 2014. Hard.Land will involve interviews, photos and film/videostories of the real heroes. Hard.Land is supported by and partly funded by «Fritt Ord», The Freedom of Expression Foundation in Oslo, Norway.

Hard.Land is named after the famous song This Hard Land by Bruce Springsteen. The first lines in the lyrics goes like this:

Hey there mister can you tell me what happened to the seeds I’ve sown?

Can you give me a reason sir as to why they’ve never grown?

They’ve just blown around from town to town

Read the full lyrics here.





A multimedia project: The working class in America. By Roy Freddy Andersen & Espen Rasmussen