Reflections of a Town: How Rjukan residents came out of the shadows and into the light

People gather during the official opening of Giant Sun Mirrors in the town of Rjukan, Norway, on October 30, 2013. Residents of the remote village, who are nestled in a steep valley, can now enjoy winter sunlight thanks to the giant mirrors. (Krister Soerboe/AFP/Getty Images)


Much of Norway lies in shadow during the winter. But one artist in a particularly dark town found a way to brighten the lives of his fellow residents who spend half the year with no direct sunlight.

Many residents of the world's northern countries felt particularly beleaguered by the weather last winter. The snow seemed deeper, the wind colder, and the days darker.

The Norwegian town of Rjukan couldn't do much about the snow and cold, but it did do something about the darkness. As a valley town, it normally gets no direct sunshine for six months of a year. But one creative Norwegian defied the shadows, and the critics, to bring in the sun.

Earlier this year Jeffrey Kofman travelled to the town of Rjukan to find out how it managed to capture the light. This is his documentary Reflections of a town. It first aired in March.

Want to know more about the man behind the mirrors? Listen to this short clip from the documentary:

For the first time in its history, the little town that couldn't get sunshine was able to bask in the light. Here's how:

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Computer-operated motors control the position of these giant mirrors. (Reuters/Tore Meek/NTB Scanpix) 

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The mirrors follow the position of the sun, reflecting sunlight into the dark valley. The mirrors are roughly 51 square meters in size. (Reuters/Tore Meek/NTB Scanpix)

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This is what reflected sunshine looks like. Locals gather in front of the town hall to catch some of it. (AFP/Getty Images)

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Locals head outside to catch some rays as the mirrors bring light into the centre of the town. (AFP/Getty Images)

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