Reykjavík photo-festival

Icelandic photo-festival 2012 – a literal review

I was on a meeting, when they started to set up the photo-festival at Kex-hostel downtown Reykjavík. There they where, seven or eight people, fuzzing and buzzing about how to set up the projector just right. I thought those guys were hilarious. The first Reykjavík photo- festival was just around the corner.

On saturday night I popped in to see the show at Kex- hostel, there Jón Proppé started the show off by having a talk about the history of contemporary photography. I didn’t have the camera with me, I thought it would be too much, sitting in a room filled with photographers, taking pictures of them, talking about pictures. His lecture was inspiring and very informative, his view was from the top. The photographs projected at the show were amazing, the people watched many examples of contemporary Icelandic photography work with admiration in their eyes. The evening ended with an artistic best-off photography show from Voies Arles, France (the project manager of the photo-festival told me earlier that it was the sister festival to the Icelandic one). One thing that was great, was the dramatic and artistic music played under the shows, I think that it strengthened the atmosphere to a greater level of inspiring the visual experience.

Sunday came with its gray musky weather. I couldn’t resist of going to the Sundhöllin, swimming hall for dipping in, and watching the photography show on display, the theme being Icelandic swimming culture.

I laughed at the literality, yesterday I was afraid of photographing the photographers watching the best of photography, now I was in my swimsuit, taking photos of other people swimming with the swimming photographs on display! Wonderful! The only thing was, that this indoor swimming pool had too much light coming in from the windows, but the show was great. And what an idea! The culture of swimming and the swim suit fashion!

After drying up and leaving the pool, I just wanted to see one more thing. I went to Lækjartorg square, and saw the historic show, Kvosin for 100 years. I thought it was very clever to have the projector inside “the clock”, which is a famous landmark for us inlanders, a meeting point in the city. I loved how this history of this area was shown and it made me want to think about my craving of photographic displays in public spaces, outside.

Unfortunately, I didn´t see other venues, but I will be keeping an eye on the next photo-festival held! All and all I had a great time, and I wish all people involved in Icelandic photographic culture the best in having these kind of festives in the future.

Ása Baldursdóttir

photos: Ása Baldursdóttir

Icelandic photo-festival 2012

The Icelandic photo-festival will take place 9th – 12th February 2012. The program will consist of photo exhibitions that will be installed in the downtown area of Reykjavík, for example in Lækjartorg, Reykjavík City Hall, Tjarnarbíó and Sundhöll Reykjavíkur, along with a ambitious program, its all about photographs.

Here you can look at a list over the venues:

Ljósmyndasafn Reykjavíkur/Reykjavík museum of photography
Tryggvagötu 15, 101 Reykjavík

Museum night, Sigrún Sigurðardóttir offers a guided tour of “Echoes”, the dark- room.

Ráðhús Reykjavíkur/Reykjavík City Hall
Tjarnargötu 11, 101 Reykjavík

Photo exhibition from neighborhoods of Reykjavík.

Sundhöll Reykjavíkur
Barónstíg 45a, 101 Reykjavík

An exhibition that shows Icelandic swimming culture from various times.

Kex hostel
Skúlagötu 28, 101 Reykjavík

A photo exhibition contributed by the photo- festival Voices Off, which is held in Arles in France, will be on showcase in KEX hostel, where it´s artistic director Christophe Laloi will open the exhibition.

Tjarnargötu 12, 101 Reykjavík

Photographs of Andrés Kolbeinsson and photographs of students in Ljósmyndaskólinn.

Kvosin – 100 year history in photographs.

Þjóðminjasafnið/The National Museum of Iceland
Photo- analysis will be on offer in the National Museum.

Guided tours will be on offer in Icelandic, in five neighborhoods of Reykjavík with a special emphasis on photographs from each location.

Directors cut – preparation in full swing!

Svava Lóa Stefánsdóttir, the project-manager of the photo-festival, says the preparation is going well. “I have always had a huge interest in the photographic medium, and that the photograph can be used to mediate history, and also for artistic expression. I got a job at the Reykjavík museum of Photography as a historian, when I graduated Uni, which was like a dream come true,“ says Svava Lóa, and continues to talk about her love of photography.

Photographic documentation is everywhere

“I´ve been taking photographs myself like most people do nowadays, I like to document things. I think this is an awakening, now people are starting to document much more, with their phones, cameras, and with the digital technology,“ says Svava Lóa and points out that this was much more expensive when people could only use the photo-film medium, and that the photography was a limited source to the regular John in the old days. “Now the teenager can take a snapshot with his phone, and is not editing himself as the traditional photographer did back in the day, when the medium was still young“. She says that with this rapid change in photography and its magnitude, it is also easier to delete photos, with the consequences that their history vanishes.

The medium up!

“It’s four years now since I started to work at the museum, and this idea has been floating around for some time, that someday the Museum should organize a photo-festival. It was in the end of November last year that Reykjavik Museum of Photography and FÍSL, Icelandic contemporary photography, decided to go ahead and organize The Photographers Days, the photo-festival”. The festival accumulates around the idea of elevate the photographic medium and is aimed at both photographers and the public as a whole. “We have invited foreign guests, artistic directors, curators, and professionals in the field of photography to the photo-festival. We would like to introduce them to Icelandic photo-culture, but at the same time, give Icelandic photographers an opportunity to introduce themselves to foreign professionals”.

“The idea was partly based on the Voices Off photo-festival in France. I have been doing a little research on photo-festivals, they are everywhere,” says Svava Lóa and adds that although there have been photo-events in Iceland, this is the first time on this scale, a festival. “We are inviting six foreign guests that are very known in the photographic world, that will give a portfolio review on the festival. This is a concept involving professionals in the field, that will review photographers’ portfolios, with constructive criticism. Well, its also a great opportunity for photographers to introduce themselves to this group of experts that in, one way or another, work in or around the field of photography,” Svava Lóa says and adds that this review is free, but fully booked.

Icelandic historic photography in the limelight

Svava Lóa tells us that the photographic medium arrived soon here in Iceland. “It is very interesting to think about the progression of the photographic medium in Iceland. The first photographs where taken in Denmark, portraits that where taken in Daguerre kinds of films, and now it’s a global thing, almost everybody can take photographs,” she says and adds that the photograph portrays is always a moment that is grasped, but that the question is if its produced or not. “It still is always a document of the time that the photograph was produced in, the old photographs are a great testimony about the people, clothes, buildings, landscape, the atmosphere and other things that become more clear sometimes in the photograph, than in written texts”.

The focus in the photo-festival is mainly on historic photographs, both in a classical sense and other themes. For the example there will be an exhibition of the Icelandic swimming culture in Sundhöll Reykjavíkur. “The photographs are very various, from photos of little children that are learning how to swim in the sea to portraits of Linda P., the former Miss World, in her swimsuit in Laugardalslaugin”.

The photo-festival is here to stay

“Our options for next years festival are endless. We hope that this first festival goes well, this project is very exciting and it will be nice to see how it evolves in the future. Those who are involved in this first photo-festival do believe in this vision of ours to place Icelandic photographic culture, and have done everything to help us make that vision come true,” says Svava Lóa and adds that she will be around on all the venues this coming weekend.

Interview: Ása Baldursdóttir
Photographs: Nanna Dís

Icelandic photo-festival 2012

The Icelandic photo-festival will take place 9th – 12th February 2012. The program will consist of photo exhibitions that will be installed in the downtown area of Reykjavík, for example in Lækjartorg, Reykjavík City Hall, Tjarnarbíó and Sundhöll Reykjavíkur. A photo exhibition contributed by the photo- festival Voies Off, which is held in Arles in France, will be on showcase in KEX hostel, where it´s artistic director Christophe Laloi will open the exhibition.
Jón Proppé will discuss and show icelandic contemporary photographs, photo- analysis will be on offer in the National Museum and five photographic walks will be held in the largest parts of the city. Six foreign experts in photography will be invited to Iceland, for the purpose to meet local photographers and observe local photographic culture. They will also participate in portfolio review which has never been held in Iceland, but is very known and popular abroad.

©Nicolas Haeni (ECAL)