Taken over a period of two years, the compilation is a small sample from the book titled “Icelanders” (or Íslendingar) by photographer Sigurgeir Sigurjónsson and author Unnur Jökulsdóttir.
“The purpose of the project was to dig deep into the question “What is Iceland?”” said Unnur, whose words provide insightful narratives to each bold photograph. “We wanted to show the people and the nation in all kinds of seasons.”
Each enlarged photograph tells a story of the landscape, a family, a community or an individual. Many are taken in remote areas of the country, where a single or few persons have adapted their traditional way of life to the modern age.
“It was like going back in time for me,” said Unnur. “The people seem to have so much control of their lives. They are so pure.”
In fact, the characters are sometimes so pure that they border on the mythological. In photos like “The Thriller Writer,” “The Valley Dweller,” or “The Jack-of-all Trades,” the contentment of each character is imminent.
Perhaps this is the most bizarre and beautiful theme of the piece, that all of the subjects appear so happy with their lives.
“All of the people were very willing to participate and invite us into their homes,” said Unnur. “They are all personal friends now.”
With the recent celebration of Iceland’s 60th year of independence, “Icelanders” is a wonderful reminder of the way Iceland successfully continues to grow and adapt – on their own terms.
Icelanders will be displayed in Austurvöllur Square from June 17th to September 1st.