Ævar Guðmundsson is a photographer from Kópavogur Iceland who caught my eye one day whilst I was, dare I say it, researching by surfing the internet for artists. His beautiful and captivating photograph of Kirkjufell jumped out at me. I had just finished an exercise for my Elements of Design Module about positioning a “point” in a photograph. I couldn’t help but think that this is a great example about what a well placed object can do, in this case the rock in the foreground, and how it can draw the viewer’s eye on first seeing an image. There are also the “points” created by the peak and its reflection. Overall, combined with the wide angle and the pattern of the clouds, you feel as if you are drawn into the scenery, almost as if you are standing in it.
After that I was hooked on Ævar’s autobiographical photography of Iceland. Nearly all of the works I have seen of his are of his home country, but he has a few examples of other countries he has visited such as Poland, Lithuania and Boston in the USA. His subject matter covers stunning scenery, architecture, still life in context and natural phenomenon. Animal life is shown simply by Icelandic horses that dot the landscape and a Puffin. I imagine waiting for wildlife to appear must be difficult in such a harsh environment. There are other wildlife photographers that I follow such as Jason Savage, but for me Ævar is the landscape photographer I take inspiration from.
The key thing I notice most is that, unlike many other photographers I have viewed, less is more with his images. If you visit his website http://www.aevarg.com/forsida and view his work you will see what I mean. He clearly catalogues his work into the four points of the compass with each cover picture giving you a tantalizing taste of what lies inside that folder. There are a couple of extra folders to cover the Highlands and West fjords. For me it was easy to get the intense urge and desire to go and visit this beautiful piece of the planet. This is what I think his images do; make you want to go and see something different, if not totally unspoilt and in most cases utterly natural. He cleverly uses light to expose the amazing colours of the sky and landscape, which are dominated by blues, whites, greens, browns, yellows and grays. All the colours are crisp, sharp and vibrant and the contrasts are perfect. Even the views of Reykjavik show that their principle city is a wonderfully colourful and cultural place illustrated by the examples of the city buildings with their red, blue and green roofs and the beautiful Harpa concert hall.
I find it difficult to criticise his work, as he manages to do what I aspire to do myself in my own area/style of photography by producing images that make people want to go and experience somewhere new and different. I am not a huge fan of obvious post production work which distorts the original image and Ævar’s work retains that “natural” feel and any post production merely enhances what was already there.
You can also see his work on Flikr