Photographs & texts: Sara GalbiatiPeter Helles Eriksen et Tobias Selnæs Markussen
Book design: Iron Flag
Translation: Brice Matthieussent
176 pages + one leaflet and two 16 pages insers
21,5 x 28cm
150 colour pictures
ISBN: 979-10-92265-45-3

I was very impressed by the heaviness of this book when I held it for the first time in my hands. Hard cover. On it, not the most catchy image of the entire volume for sure; the picture of an archive shelf. That’s the perfect introduction for letting everyone know that this work is not a joke. UFO is a subject that can be tackled in many ways, something that can be related to different social and cultural phenomenons. Fiction, fantasy or reality.

Photographers Sara Galbiati, Peter Helles Eriksen and Tobias Selnaes Markusse decided to take it on trough the testimony of people who truly believe in extraterrestrial life, government coverings and aliens abduction. It is a investigation on a diverse community that shares the belief that we are not alone in the universe.

What makes the UFO Phenomena?

The authors after extensive research spent two weeks roaming Nevada to New Mexico, visiting lonely towns, kitschy roadside attractions, and, of course, Area 51 and Roswell. They collected testimonies of people such as Travis Walton - his story was the inspiration for the 1993 movie Fire in the Sky. They aimed at maintaining a non-judgemental mind-set using an anthropological approach.

Flicking through the book, you can read the testimonies of the portrayed UFOs believers, and, inside a small booklet, look at pictures of objects related to these stories collected as evidence.The result is a body of work with a strong visual connection to movies and TV shows that deal with UFOs, dreamy photos with washed out colours. The portraits reveal a vulnerability that suggests these people truly believe the stories they tell.

As Peter, Sara and Tobias explain in the short introduction text “The complexity of the subject and constant flow of changing information mean that the pieces can be combined in infinite ways”, so this book encourages the reader to take a critical, but open-minded look.

The Copenhagen-based collective behind “Phenomena” consists of Sara Galbiati, Peter Helles Eriksen, and Tobias Selnaes Markussen. All of them are trained photojournalists from the Danish School of Media and Journalism. In 2012 they founded the creative community Kompleks; individually, they work on projects and assignments for a wide range of major media. For the “Phenomena” project, the group acted as a collective using a conceptual, subjective and playful approach to documentary. Fundamental to their work is the conviction that the romanticised ego of the photographer needs to be challenged and dissolved. During the past few years, they have been widely published and exhibited in Denmark, Europe, and Asia.