Iceland Mag

8 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Culture

The many faces of down-town Reykjavík

By Sara McMahon

  • Tattoo artist Ólafía at Reykjavík Ink proudly shows off her tattoos. Photo/Ómar Sverrisson

  • Tobias Kiel poses in front of mosaic street art.  Photo/Ómar Sverrisson

  • Lilja Birgisdóttir, a local artist. She is also the sister of singer Jónsi, the frontman of the band Sigur Rós. Photo/Ómar Sverrisson

  • Krummi is the lead singer of rock band Mínus. Photo/Ómar Sverrisson

Well over a decade ago, Ómar Sverrisson began to photograph the people who inhabit down-town Reykjavík, resulting in the ongoing project The Reykjavík Portrait Series.

 

Ómar, an artist and graphic designer, was ten years old when his grandfather gave him his first camera, sparking his longstanding love affair with photography. Today he never leaves home without his camera. “Once I began to take photographs, I was hooked,” he says.

 

Photographer Ómar Sverrisson

The Reykjavík Portrait Series features stunning portrait photographs of people who live and work in Reykjavík’s 101 postal code zone. The area is the oldest part of Iceland’s capital and well-known for its small, colourful houses of corrugated iron, narrow, maze-like streets that seem to twist and turn in no particular order, and its diverse architecture. Its inhabitants are mostly artisans, academics, students, and young homeowners – these are the people Ómar became fascinated with and has been documenting these past years.

“I’ve lived in the neighbourhood my whole life and have always been intrigued by the colourful characters that live in the area.” He adds: “All my images are meant to be a tribute to 101 Reykjavík and its inhabitants.” And that´s exactly what his images are.

Ómar’s photographs give an interesting insight into modern-day central Reykjavík. He always shoots spontaneously, usually right in the middle of the street.

“It´s all very spur of the moment. When I spot someone I find interesting, I’ll shoot them right then and there. The shoot only takes a moment and I never ask people to pose. It’s supposed to look natural and not forced.”

For more photos visit his Facebook page or his Tumblr

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