So Gunnar and Ingólfur Egilsson’s grandfather, Gunnar Hannesson, has a show downtown. He died in 1976, but in the years prior earned himself a stable career in photography, publishing several solo books, printing in National Geographic, and appearing in local homes via Eimskip’s yearly calendar.
“Our grandfather got his first camera when he was 30,” Gunnar says. “He had hated photographers before that because they slowed everything down on the roads, always stopping to take pictures. But once he started with photography he became very ambitious.”
Although Gunnar never met his grandfather, Ingólfur has a few early memories of him: “He was always with his camera and his Range Rover.”
Gunnar and Ingólfur had no budget for this project, but with help of the photo shop Dikta (who will also facilitate purchases of the photographs), they were able to fill the upstairs gallery space with quality prints of varying sizes.
This collection of photos reflects their grandfather’s tendency to carry a camera everywhere, as it presents mostly snapshot-type pictures of Reykjavík. There is a slightly more nostalgic feel above anything else when looking at these photographs. One can see most areas of the city in these prints, along with the ghosts of all those who were actively working on the streets and in shops. There is a man hanging fish to dry in the centre of town, and old houses which have since been torn down.
The photos are clear and colourful, which makes them seem closer, more real; they make the past seem nearby and tangible.
Apart from this effect, the most outstanding image of this exhibition is the one that you can’t help but conjure in your mind of two grandsons going through all these images of Reykjavík, picking the ones they want to display. “It definitely makes me feel more connected to my grandfather,” Gunnar says.
The show will run from 14 August to 8 September on the top floor of Gallery Ófeigs at Skólavörðustígur 5. The band AMPOP will perform on culture night in the space behind the gallery. On that evening they also hope to project photos on the building across the street.