Pétur Thomsen

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Imported Landscape

In the year 2003 The National Power Company of Iceland started the building of the 700 MW Kárahnjúkar Hydroelectric Project in eastern Iceland. The project consists of three dams, one of them being the highest in Europe, and a hydroelectric power plant. The dams block among others the big glacial river Jökulsá á Dal, creating the 57km2 artificial lake Hálslón.

The Power plant is primarily being constructed to supply electricity to a new Aluminium smelter built by Alcoa of USA in the fjord of Reyðarfjörður on the east coast of Iceland. The artificial lake and the constructions have spoiled one of Europe’s largest wildernesses. Making the Kárahnjúkar project, not only the biggest project in Icelandic history, but also the most controversial one. There have been a lot of debates about this project. Environmentalists are fighting for the preservation of the wild nature while those supporting the project talk about the need to use the energy that nature has to offer, capitalizing the power of nature.

When the project started, I felt a great need to participate in these debates. I had worked in an aluminium smelter for five years before starting my photography carrier. I felt the best way for me to participate was to follow the land in its transformation, giving it my respect by photographing it in a beautiful way.Since the beginning of the project in 2003 and until 2012 I went regularly to the construction site, taking landscape photographs, showing Icelandic contemporary landscape.
Pétur Thomsen

“As portrayed by Pétur Thomsen in his pictures from Kárahnjúkar, humans seem to have a natural inclination towards dominating the reality that is so much vaster than they themselves – unpredictable, terrifying and infinitely more complex and powerful than we can ever imagine. Faced by nature, the human being is dwarfed in a poignant manner – but at the same time, the human dwarf somehow assumes a grandeur when it manages to harness nature, throwing a chain around the neck of the wolf Fenrir, domesticating it and turning it into a humble servant.

In Pétur Thomsen’s photographs, the human being’s struggle against the forces of nature simultaneously assumes grandiose and tragic dimensions. The human’s destructive capacities, unleashed by its attempts to conquer nature, have rarely been given such a tangible form in Icelandic art. With his photography, Pétur involves the spectators in a space where the human being and reality come head to head. The spectators awaken from their slumber as they try and figure out what belongs to reality and what doesn’t, and who he is to start with, this man who stands idly by in the face of the struggles taking place right before his eyes – who? He himself.”

Sigrún Alba Sigurðardóttir from the text awakening, Akureyri Art Museum, Iceland, 2011

BIO

Born in 1973, Reykjavík Iceland.

Pétur Thomsen is an Icelandic photographic artist, born in Reykjavik in 1973.He lives and works in south of Iceland. In 2004 he received his master’s degree in fine arts from the École Nationale Supérieur de la Photographie in Arles France.

Pétur Thomsen focuses on the disruption of nature, both in his photographs of the Kárahnjúkar power plant project area in his series Imported Landscape, and in his works Umhverfing (an Icelandic word for the state between nature and environment) and Ásfjall (Mt. Ásfjall). These works have been exhibited in venues such as the National Gallery of Iceland, the Reykjavík Museum of Photography, and the National Museum of Iceland. And in numerous solo and group exhibitions around the world. Such as Photoforum PasqArt Switzerland, Les Rencontre d’Arles France, Musée de l’Elysée Switzerland, Musée national d’Histoire et Art Luxembourg, Fotografie Forum Frankfurt Germany, Photo Gallery International Tokyo Japan.

In his latest series Landnám (Settlement) Pétur Thomsen is observing or rather operating as an investigator out in the field during the winter nights, investigating three aspects of land use in the south of Iceland: mines, tree plantation and farmers use of land. Using photographic flash equipment to partially light up the dark northern night of the Icelandic winter.

Pétur has been nominated and received numerous awards and prizes. In 2004 he won The 10th LVMH young artists’ award. In 2005 he was selected by the Musée de L’Élysée in Lausanne for reGeneration 50 Photographers of Tomorrow. The exhibition Imported landscape in the National Gallery of Iceland was selected as the exhibition of the year 2010 in Iceland.

Pétur Thomsen is a founding member and former Chairman of FíSL, The Icelandic Contemporary Photography Association,www.fisl.is

Pétur Thomsen is one of the founders and co-director of The Icelandic Photography Festival. www.tipf.is

Pétur gives lectures and teaches workshops both in Iceland and abroad.

He lives in the south of Iceland, in an eco-village called Sólheimar.

Pétur Thomsen
www.peturthomsen.is
IG: @PeturThomsen


Heiða Helgadóttir

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104.5

This is a story about people that live in the camping area in Reykjavík. They have a very strong and tight community and they stand close together. Some people live in the camping area temporarily and others for a long time. Some of them live with their dogs, and one of them lives in his Recreational Vehicle car with his 2 cats. The 104.5 story sheds a light on a community that seldom is seen or heard.

BIO
I have been working as a photojournalist in Iceland since 2004, my passion documenting photo stories, telling stories of people and trying to see the world from a different point of view.

Heiða Helgadóttir
http://www.heidah.com/
IG: heidah

Björgvin Sigurðarson

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Growing up I found the urban music and creative scene. These photographs were taken throughout my years of involvement in this culture. The streets that I walked, skated and where I learnt to take in my surroundings more deeply. These images provide a small glimpse into what goes on in Iceland, and how differently the city can look depending on your viewpoint and the things you are searching for, be that physical spaces, community, or identity.

BIO

Björgvin Sigurðarson is an Icelandic Photographer and multimedia artist. He currently lives and works in London, UK.

Björgvin Sigurðarson
IG: bjorgvinsigur

Ingvar Högni Ragnarsson

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GLEYMSKA

History is fragile as our minds and seldom reliable as a source of truthful facts. Iceland has developed rapidly over the last 100 years and gone through drastic changes. What will remain of our history and what will stand the test of time. There is a part of Iceland that is slowly fading away and is almost erased from our living memory and that is the time of WW2. Iceland benefited greatly from that tragedy and suffered little loss. The infrastructure of our country is based on the foundation from the war but now we are facing a new occupation of invaders. Iceland is heavily invested in tourism and a new infrastructure face is about to take place. What will remain of that story when the memory of it starts to fade as well. Our history and memory is bound to the perspective used to look upon it and maybe it holds no truth. What will this new occupation leave as their heritage on the landscape of Iceland?

BIO

Ingvar Högni Ragnarsson was born in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1981. He graduated with Bachelor of Fine Art from The Icelandic Academy of Visual Art in 2007 and studied documentary photography in the Royal Academy of Art in den Haag.

Ingvar Högni Ragnarsson’s artistic practice is situated somewhere in between art photography and documentary – often with a documentary view as starting point and the artistic way of looking at things and creating images as the result.

His images are often emptied of human physical presence just showing the landscapes and sites constructed by humans in all its mess and glory. His work is not moralizing or strictly political just posing some questions making us reflect on how we treat landscapes – nature’s as well as the urban landscape.

Alongside his artistic production Ingvar Högni has participated in various cultural activities and projects. He ran a bookstore and publication company called Útúrdúr in Reykjavik and has photographed for various clients in Iceland and abroad. At the moment he is pursuing his master´s degree in Applied Studies in Culture and Communication at the University of Iceland.

Ingvar Högni Ragnarsson
www.ihragnarsson.com
IG: ingvar_hogni