The Female Gaze

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Normal Greenland

My own images from Greenland are still marinating in the fridge, and on the hard drive, undeveloped. I firmly believe in letting photographs age for some weeks, if time allows, before they are released from their hibernation for processing, butchering, devouring and digesting. It allows one to forget and enables a fresher approach. How is that the images you remember the most are not as good as you thought but the true gems are often hidden in oblivion?

I have however been digesting the experience of Greenland since I stepped out of the plane in Nuuk. Unlike any place I have ever been to before, its vastness is almost chlaustrophobia inducing, the feeling of powerlessness agains the nature stronger than anywhere. And somehow comforting.

Finn Larsen has been photographing in Greenland since 1991 and it seems to me he has captured life there rather differently than many other image makers, in his words: “Greenland is definitely Man’s land – a quite normal country.”
Below are some images of his:






The work in Greenland, Moderlandet,  is made with the help of the Vestnorræni höfuðborgasjóðurinn and Air Iceland / Flugfélag Íslands.

Heroes and Henson

I grew up seeing (receiving?) a very specific photographic representation of Greenland, which was in many ways quite similar to the way Iceland has been represented through photography for the last decades. It has, I think, a lot to do with one man; Ragnar Axelsson or RAX. And of course a few more. These men downed polar bear pants and reindeer jackets and sat on dogsleds for days looking for a live version of what they were wearing. Or more specifically looking to capture an image of the natives hunting these animals, living off the land. These men braved the stinging cold and the brutal storms, spending time on the ice alongside the people of the arctic. They then presented us with a crazy, nostalgic and dramatic visual alphabet of contrasts. The letters of this alphabet were in caps lock and spelled the loudest and most important of words but its letters were few and the vocabulary limited. As with any type of photography or other means of representation. These men were HEROES. Heroes with cameras. I am not.

Today I head to Greenland in a kind of reaction to these dazzling versions of the North. I set out to gather moments to make up my version. It will not be the truth, or accurate in any way, but it will be a truth and my version.

A few weeks ago I attended a lecture of RAX about his work and he shared a little anecdote: “When the Greenlanders wanted to dress up for the camera they would take off the hunting gear made from skins and put on brightly colored Henson-outfits. In their eyes that was the stuff. Then of course I had no longer any interest in photographing them.”

I now dream of making that photograph.






These photographs are taken from RAX’s series The Hunters of Greenland, more here:

The trip to Greenland and Moderlandet-project is made with the help of the Vestnorræni höfuðborgasjóðurinn and Air Iceland / Flugfélag Íslands.

New Nordic Photography 2013

Exhibition opens in Hasselblad Center, Götaborg, next week. I am quite excited to see how the installation went, to meet the other artists and my dear old professor Thomas Joshua Cooper who is there on jury duty. Furthermore I have never been to Sweden before but I am told it is the land of hipsters – expecting a whole lot of cool.

Details here:


Interview times

Here is an interview with me in Dazed Digital to do with the FreshFaced+WildEyed exhibition in The Photographer’s Gallery in September. Also just purchased a ticket to London to be present at the opening. Exciting times.

MANIFESTO 11: a comedy of errors

Opening tomorrow, the 20th of April, at the Lighthouse in Glasgow. We wrote together blindly a manifesto, a set of rules. Then we made art accordingly, or perhaps not?

More here: And Here:


I am featured in the the spring issue of Archivo in great company. Joachim Schmid and my former teacher at CCA in San Francisco, Abner Nolan, among others. The theme of the issue is ‘found photography’ and as it is a Portuguese publication it is in both English and Portuguese.

Check it out here:

Iceland before Turkey

Work in progress for European Borderlines.

Dad’s drawings

While moving the other day I came across these drawings my dad, Hallgrímur Helgason, made for me when I was just a few years old. He was living in the US, first Boston and then New York and this was his way of communicating. Both of them are of me I guess, one with my dear Little Ponies.

Website is up and running


Elf Sex (Video)

I gave a little talk in Listaháskóli Íslands in January and wanted to explain my book on sex with Icelandic elves and decided to show the clip did on it. After ransacking the internet I finally managed to find it:

Icelandic Elf Sex (Video).

My favorite comment (Gregory):

“What’s fascinating is she isn’t overweight, doesn’t appear to live with 9 cats, her teeth are good and she doesn’t wear glasses. She’s good looking, speaks well and doesn’t has glassy eyes.

Hmm, maybe she’s serious.”