Sigurgeir Sigurjonsson – Earthward

Sigurgeir Sigurjónsson, born 1948 in Reykjavík, started to look at life through the lens of a camera around the age of fourteen. As a teenager in the Reykjavík of the Sixties some of his earliest pictures were of his favorite bands and singers on the burgeoning music scene (which in 2010 was portrayed in his book Poppkorn). During that time he discovered that investigating his country and its people as reflected in the art of photography was to become his future. After studying photography in Iceland in 1965-69, he went abroad for further study at the Christer Strömholm school of photography in Stockholm in 1970-71 and in San Diego, California in 1980-81.Since returning to Reykjavík, Sigurgeir has published numerous books of photos: Svip-myndir in 1982, Hestar (Horses) in 1985, and his first collection of landscape photography, Landscapes in 1992. These were followed by some of the most popular photo books about Iceland and the Icelanders ever published: Iceland the Warm Country of the North in 1994, Amazing Iceland in 1998, Lost in Iceland in 2002, Icelanders with Unnur Jökulsdóttir in 2004, Found in Iceland 2006, Made in Iceland 2007, The Little big book about Iceland 2009, Lost in Argentina with Sæmundur Norðfjörð 2010, Poppkorn 2010 with Einar Kárason, Volcano Iceland 2010 and Earthward 2011.

Earthward – Text by Guðmundur Andir Thorsson.

We glide above the land, higher than a bird, and see rivers and ice, shore, ocean, sand ,rock, moss, flocks of birds which become the land too…and these are real phenomena of nature, which were in time and space, there and here; but in Sigurgeir Sigurjónsson´s hands these natural phenomena also become beautiful shapes in a work of art, which gain meaning from each other, and possess their own beauty in themselves, and in the artistry of the one who communicates them to us.

In these pictures, in other words, there is a lot of art. And pherhaps they would even be inconceivable in painters had not already opened our eyes to a new view of nature – liberated us from seeing only a mountain where a mountain is, only rock in rock, only clouds in clouds.

These images are in a dialouge with the Icelandic landscape painting. And not only the old-style paintings, which specifically depicted the conventional, stereotypeical mountain to hang in the the living rooms on the gentry, but the powerful Icelandic landscape expressionism seen in the work of such 20th- century masters as Svavar Guðnason, Kristján Davíðsson and the rest who painted eddies in rivers, the tidelines, and slapped thick lave on their canvases, without people exactly seeing it, although they instantly saw it, of course in the mind´s eye.

Man does not have the imagaination to think of shapes that don´t exist in nature.