As i mentioned on Flickr the other day, my first solo exhibit outside of Iceland opened at Man-Made Images in Mountcharles, in northern Ireland on May 14, and will be up until August 14th. For those not anywhere near Mountcharles, Ireland, or any other place in Ireland for that matter, the image selection can be viewed, and prints purchased, on the galleries website.
I figured I’d put up a little info on each of the 15 images. I personally enjoy photos more when they have a bit of story attatched. The show includes doll photos and scenes of abandonment from around rural Iceland, the two groups linked together by one surreal self-portrait, which shows me peeking through a floating window in the middle of nowhere. One can imagine that i’m peeking into a dreamworld, where dolls roam around in contradiction to their ordinarily inanimate state. Dolls have been linked to surrealism from the early days of the movement, appearing memorably in the work of Hans Bellmer. My reason for deciding to work with dolls (i spent over a year creating a large number of such images) was linked to the common childhood fantasy of ones doll being alive. Sigmund Freud mentions in his famous essay on the Uncanny, that in playing, young children make little distinction between living and inanimate objects, and take great pleasure in pretending their dolls are alive,but find nothing disturbing about it. Which is interesting in light of the fact that so many adults find dolls immensely creepy, and probably more so if they’re walking around by themselves (Chucky, anyone?) In any case, I found it a fascinating subject to tackle.
Anyway, here’s a brief rundown of the 15 images:
This is taken in July 2008, at an abandoned farmhouse i came across driving in a remote area in central North Iceland. I seriously creeped myself out setting up this scenario, and would not have gone up those stairs if I'd been offered money. All to easy to imagine the tiny doll boy clambering down the stairs, coming to greet me after years of being there alone, forgotten..
This abandoned truck, which stood for years in a field on the outskirts of my hometown of Hafnarfjörður, (finally removed last year, I believe) appeared on my flickr page back in March of 2006, but has never before been available in print. This was one of my first daytime long-exposures with my ND400 filter, half a minute in bright sunlight.
Here I decided to illustrate the phrase "Babes in the woods", adding a certain element from the "Hanzel and Gretel" fairy tail, i.e. the idea of lost children being tempted by something which appears too good to be true. (And, in accordance with the story, probably is.) The gingerbread house of fairy tale fame represented here by an alluring pile of presents, from which emanates a mysterious light. Sure, they *might* be full of toys, but , you know... the witch did try to eat those kids.. so an explosive device or some creepy cursed monkey would be likelier than a new train set. The only "photoshop" here is the cloning of the doll (it's the same one twice). I did go thru the trouble of gift-wrapping a bunch of boxes and carrying them into the woods in a very un-santa-like black garbage bag, placing a flash inside one of the boxes to create the lighting. This one looks awesome in print.
This was taken in July of 2008, near Skagaströnd in central North Iceland. It was an amazingly (unpleasantly) windy and cold day (for July). What made me stop the car and drive down to this barn was the wild flapping of those strips of plastic. Normally I'd take a long-exposure on a windy day with a sky like that, but I wanted to really capture the essence of the wind here, rather than smooth it out.
This is my doll-homage to my beloved Eve (click on the image please) This doll was a Christmas or birthday present when i was 8 or 9, and for some reason wanted a porcelain doll more than anything (a rarely girlish thing for me to want. I was quite a tomboy otherwise). This is one of my favorites.
This is Helga. She was my first doll, given to me when I was 4 years old. She had a perm back then.. not sure what happened. My mom made that dress for her some years later. I actually shot four portraits like this, on a cold day in february 2009 at Kleifarvatn lake. On each dolls face, I ever-so-slightly altered their expressions, giving them a little more character. The other three can be seen on my website. (Click on the image to see)
This deisel pump stands next to Litla Kaffistofan, a small gas-station/restaurant, located 20 minutes or so outside of Reykjavík, indeed a welcome sight when heading back into town from long trips around south east Iceland. I seem to recall always asking my parents to stop for ice-cream here..
This is Baldur, my older sisters first doll. I took him on a road trip on a bright June night in 2008. This is taken at 5 in the morning, on the Krýsuvík road, which heads out of my town of Hafnarfjörður to Kleifarvatn lake and the Krýsuvík geothermal area a little farther along..
Taken at 2 in the morning at Kleifarvatn, in roughly the same place as the photo I made (a month earlier, at the same time of night) entitled "once in a blue moon".
I came across this barn about a half hour from Höfn í Hornafirði, when driving back from shooting a wedding on the East coast of Iceland in August 2007. A very disgruntled ram stood off to the side bleating ominous warnings at me while i was composing this shot, clearly overstepping my boundaries into his territory.. This is my favorite "abandoned farm" photo.
This doll belongs to my mom, and is more than half a century old. This photo is taken on a January evening in full dark. The exposure was around 3 or 4 minutes.
I think this can be regarded as a "Barbie self portrait", the frozen hair-toss and hand-knitted wool sweater both making frequent appearances on my flickr page . (yes, I made that sweater she's wearing)
This is taken in yet another abandoned farm in North Iceland, in July 2008. I had a friend with me here, and therefore dared to go up onto the second floor to shoot this. The floorboards were quite spongy and rotted in places, and the general mood in the house not at all inviting. Love that wallpaper though.
Empty shell of a house at Vatnsleysuströnd, shot in March 2006. As with the truck above, this is a daytime long-exposure with ND filter.
I just learned that this particular print is not in fact hanging at the moment, as it was bought with frame and everything on the opening night. I'll be sending over a replacement print shortly (for those that actually plan on viewing this exhibit first-hand, I feel it should be there) This is taken in June 2009. I built the window myself, setting up this shot was a pain in the ass, but well worth it.
All prints are 40×60 cm, with a 2.5 cm white border, signed and numbered on the back. Edition of 50. If you’re interested in purchasing, just send mail to the gallery, or call them. Click here for contact information.
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