To foreigners, Syden sounds like a fantasy holiday destination accessible only to Norwegians, and it kind of is. In Norway, the word Syden is often referenced in lieu of certain European, Asian, African, and South American cities with a warm climate, mainly in or near the Mediterranean. From season to season, the exact locations of Syden may change as certain places go in and out of fashion. For his book Southbound, photographer Knut Egil Wang explores the nuances of these unidentifiable, transient havens, shooting in such hot spots as Gran Canaria, Mallorca, Murcia, and Torrevieja in Spain, Ayia Napa and Larnaca in Cyprus, Side and Alanya in Turkey, and Krabi in Thailand.
Regardless of their exact location, all of the holiday destinations are surprisingly homogenous, boasting similar leisure activities like swimming, tanning, outdoor adventuring, eating and drinking. Instead of tracing the atmosphere of any given place, Wang’s images give voice to a peculiar and captivating element of Norwegian life and tradition, capturing each locale under a single umbrella of offbeat warm-weather fun. Over the course of the project, Wang photographed everyone from popular musician Sputnik to anti-abortion activist and priest Børre Knudsen. Regardless of who you are, the illusive Syden promises the perfect getaway, just a short plane ride away.
All images © Knut Egil Wang 2014