The elite local team – “Gummi”
Like Ragnar, Guðmundur or “Gummi” like we call him, travels with some of the workshop groups in the field, guiding the instructor, assisting him and the participants in any way he can. He is my local man in the workshop vehicle, like a steersman in the bridge with the instructor being the captain, while I might be taking care of things ahead or behind and ensuring everything flows as easy as possible. As I say, my place is in the engine room missing out of lot of the fun, but man has to do, what man has to do.
Gummi knows the land like the palm of his hand. As a boy he travelled first with his parents out in the country. When he got a bit older he worked during couple of summer holidays for the Maritime Institute in Iceland surveying harbors around Iceland. Since then he has spend many summers with his family or his better half, traveling around the country and photographed it at the same time. For years Gummi had a Iveco 4×4 truck made originally for the Italian army, painted in bright yellow-orange color which we used during the first FocusOnNature workshop. It then got the name “The Yellow hen”.
I have known Gummi for decades or since I entered the photographic field in Iceland in the 80’s after my studies. Gummi’s company “Imynd” (Imagine in Icelandic) was at that time the most reputable industrial and advertising studio in town and has always since been closely related to work for many government institutions and the art community in Iceland. If a serious photographic work needed to be done, it was taken to Gummi.
To day his studio is the only one I know that properly can support analog image processing but at the same time Gummi has taken the big leap into the digital age. I don’t think he was found of having to do that, but when he does something he goes the whole 10 miles. He is now using Phase One and Nikon D3x, Mac computers linked to a Drobo and an Eizo Color Edge monitor.
In the 80’s Gummi started documenting the center of Reykjavik, often going out very early on a Sunday morning when there where few cars down town and no people around. During his photographic education in Germany around 1968 he learned that this was a normal practice over there. And now Gummi is doing this again about 25 years later, taking most of the images from the same locations as he did before. From my point of view this is photojournalism par excellence.
Gummi has a penchant for good jokes and storytelling and anyone who has the pleasure to get to know him will be amazed at his encyclopedic mind. Whether it is in the filed of photography, history, literature, music or art, Gummi is extremely well informed. Not the least he has a great sense for timing for example when to keep quiet or to speak out or put on music with a Swedish jazz band. There is no one I trust better to look after my workshop participants and steer my workshop group safely through an exiting field travel in Iceland than Gummi.