Rafn Sigurbjörnsson

Vogar Iceland

Rafn's Story

Why do you create? My passion is to capture the beauty all around us and to “Create Photographic Documentation of the Raw Nature of Iceland for future generation, before it’s too late”.
I have been hiking in the Icelandic highlands and low lands all my life and I'm seeing the changes that has been because of the climate changes.
Iceland is very sensitive due to short summers and long winters, so it takes the vegetation long time to heal and it doesn’t help that we have long past the tourist’s tolerance limits and that the big industry companies are settling down cause of the low electrical cost, with their air, landscape and visual pollution.
Because of this the Geothermal Power plants are seeking to drill in new vulnerable places and spoil our untouched natural pearls, as well the Hydraulic Power Plants are doing the same and sinking whole walleyes, so I feel I have to capture the wild beauty before it’s too late
This is one of my ways to share the beauty and to secure my financing so I can jump out when the light is right where ever it is in Iceland.
How do you work? In Iceland it can vary a bit as it is different if you are shooting in the summer or winter. I like the winter shooting more cause of the light, so I can give you a little hint for that.
You start by taking on your warmest clothes with lot of inside layers. You get out of the car to the freezing cold, with the wind blowing in your face and it does not matter how well you are dressed you will be cold, your fingers will get stiff and in the end you won’t feel them, your face will get hard and red, you start to shake. The tripod does not stand still, it’s slippery but you take the chance of clicking the camera and you hope for the best. When your back in the car, got some warm in your body and you see the shot with the beautiful light, framing and contrast, you clean the lens and start again. I just love it.
Has your creative process changed over time, if so, how? I have more patience.
When I was finding my own style I took the same picture of the same object again and again and again from different angles and settings and in the end this is what I found:
“Be the object you are shooting, seen from the ground you are at.” In other words “how would the spot you are on see the object you are shooting at” “Stay low with good foreground which leads you to the object and gives you the 3 dimensional effect in your 2 dimensional photo”.
Do you consider yourself a full-time or part-time artist? I'm a full time artist working at other projects to survive.
Besides creating, where else do you spend your time? Teaching photography, tour guiding workshop tours and photo tours in my own company called "Discover Wild Iceland.com"
What inspires you? The beauty in the Icelandic light and landscape and the many seasons we have
What is the first piece of art you remember creating? It actually all started when I was standing out in the cold painting the landscape in front of me. I thought “Why don’t I take a photo of the object and paint it at home, it´s much warmer”. I bought my self a camera and took my first photo for that purpose. Wow it was a bad one ha ha ha ha. Well I painted the landscape from that photo and slowly I learned through my paintings what kind of light, composition, framing, angel etc. I was looking for.
By doing it this way I wanted to find my own style and I think I have found it. Yes it was a struggle and much more struggle than I thought but I learned all that was needed the hard way and on that path I learned much more about the camera then people usually do as I had to read all the manuals from A to Z and test everything while I was reading it to get what I was looking for.

Actually my official study is on the internet as you can find all the best photographers, good lectures and you can study it all when your time is right to do it.
By browsing the internet I also have found out that the more I learn, the less I know
What does the term art mean to you? Emotional feeling
Name three artist that you respect? All the photographers out there.
What is your favourite piece of artwork? I can’t take one out from another as I love my work. I always feel that my last work is my favorite. When I’m on a Photo workshop tour and I see some progress from my students I feel happy, I get warm inside and I feel my time well spent. My aim is to make my students better than me. I really try to give everything I got as photography should be for all.
What is your dream project? Go out to space and shoot my earth from above.
I would also like to be able to put the smell and my emotions in my photos for others to understand my work and to experience the great feeling and happiness photography gives.
Artworks by Rafn