2016: Recap

Wow, this time of year already. Okay!

This year was very different right off the bat

A couple of days after we drove back to Reykjavík from Skagaströnd after the Holidays on 2nd of January I did a photoshoot with Tómas Lemarquis and Sigrún Ásta.

The next couple of days before school were then dedicated to a project I came up with that is still ongoing (will hopefully be finished before April 2017) called CATS, for now.

The idea is photographing known artists or persons with their cats. Simple right? Well, sometimes getting this together feels like herding cats to be honest. But I am positive! (If you are or know someone interested, contact me!)

Salka Sól and her cat, Guðbergur Marías

Salka Sól and her cat, Guðbergur Marías

I did two more photoshoots before the end of January. One for the opening of one of the RedCross clothing stores after renovation and the other was with the up and coming solo artist (at the time) Hildur.

Hildur was of course familiar with the music business since she was the singer of Rökkurró before going solo. This was not the last time we worked together in 2016 as I  shot and edited her music video to Bumpy Road.

 
 

I was still a student at the Icelandic Film School but little did I know at the time that this was my final semester there as a student. 
I directed, shot and edited two shorts that I won't be linking to here but those interested can pressure me for a link privately. Hah.

I helped photographer and director Magnús Andersen with 3 music videos in total this year. First being Way Low by KRELD, shot in January. Second being Orange by Pascal Pinon, shot in June and final is a song by VÖK that shot this December and I can't link to yet.

Photo: Eyþór Jóvins

Photo: Eyþór Jóvins

Guðný and I did our first music video together in February to Elsku Stelpur but due to copyright on the song used we haven't been able to showcase it.

In February I helped on set for the film Snjór and Salóme before leaving for Boston.

In March Jón Atli and I went to visit our good friend Bowen Staines in his home in Scituate (about 45 minutes from Boston) and stayed with him and his wonderful wife Andrea and the little piglet that is Gizmo (who really is a dog, I just witnessed her eating her own excrement so I'll refer to her as piglet).
We met Andrea's parents Leslie and Brian and drove up to New Hampshire and stayed with Bowen's mother, Karen, for a couple of days.  
The reason I mention all of them here is because they are all wonderful wonderful people whom I would love visit again sometime soon!
I really needed that break. At the time tensions ran high at school, and to be able to just have a chill vacation with some wonderful people made all the difference.

Without a doubt the most "'MURICA!" photo I have taken

Without a doubt the most "'MURICA!" photo I have taken

The same day I stepped off a 6+ hour flight from Boston I was right back in the chaos. Design-March had started and I was to photograph 2 events that evening. 
Thankfully (in retrospect) I never really got switched over to Boston-time for the whole 10 days we were there so I was not really too jet-lagged. 

The weather was so bad and the wind was blowing really hard outside, making it's presence known.
But inside Eiðistorg everything was summer and sun, cocktails, beach-volley balls and salsa music. It was one of the most interesting and fun pop-up events I have been to and had the pleasure to photograph. Tanja Levý is in my mind a total genius!

The show I did later in the evening was also an interesting one. Magnea is such an artist when it comes to clothes and I love what she does with wool.

I did get to work with both Tanja and Magnea again in 2016 when I photographed their Lookbooks later in the year.

In the beginning of April I started a new project. I started doing video essays on a YouTube channel under the name of Andvari.
This project is something I have been doing to keep myself working and editing even though I haven't been shooting, to keep my mind thinking about the art of cinema and just, creating stuff myself.

At the end of April I stopped photographing for Streets of Reykjavík, a project I started in 2015 but shot a little bit again over the course of the Secret Solstice festival. Those were my final postings.
The project was fun and easy when I was working and spending so much time downtown, then I just needed to bring my camera with me to work and walk around for an hour or two before or after work.
When I started The Icelandic Film School it got a little bit more demanding, we had one class downtown Reykjavík on Fridays so I would often bring a camera with me then but then it became a hassle and not as much fun.
I know it says "Streets of Reykjavík" and not "downtown Reykjavík" but to be fair most people can be found walking downtown or around downtown.

At the end of May I got a job at Kukl, a rental house in Iceland catering to film and television (equipment, not food).
I am so grateful to be working there, all the amazing people I have met and gotten to know and learn from and all the equipment I have been around, learning more than I felt I did at school.
I know these are two different things and I am very grateful to my mentors and teachers at the Film School, this is just next level.
The best camera we got to work with at IFS was the one I already own (Canon 5D M3) so getting to be around Arri and RED cameras, even Sony FS7 was just a step up in my mind. 
A couple of days after I start working at Kukl, Jón Atli gets a letter saying that he has been accepted into the Icelandic Film School. Funny how things work sometimes.

I photographed Secret Solstice for the 3rd year it's been around. It was good fun and I was stoked to get to see Radiohead play live.
I didn't photograph them, I just enjoyed.

Photo by Aníta Eldjárn

By the time July came around everyone was freaking out over how Iceland was doing during UEFA EURO 2016 and I was on the crew broadcasting the before and after shows here in Iceland.
I am not really sure what my title was but I assume it translates to stage manager, or maybe the title below that. ANYWAY, it was good fun and great to work with such a good crew.

In August I photographed one wedding in Hveragerði and it was wonderful!

Oh and BTW, Jón Atli and I got engaged!

So, one evening in June I get on one knee and ask him to merry me and he said yes!
Jón Atli even went so far as weaving the engagement rings himself for us. Man do I love that man!

We also moved from Vesturbær to Grafarvogur, a change I am still getting used to.

Sigh

Sigh

Just before anyone thinks that the bunnies didn't move with us, they did. Lubbi even starred in a short-film this year and did so ever so splendidly. 
Lúlli got 6 years old, old enough to start school and Lubbi is 5 years old.

Lubbi, the actress 

Lubbi, the actress 

Lúlli, the queen of everything

Lúlli, the queen of everything

Lubbi wasn't the only one in the family to take up acting this year since I starred in a music video, shot by Bowen Staines. The video hasn't been released yet, but I can show you this still of me smoking.

Around the same time I did some modeling for a commercial for Nova that Saga Sig photographer shot.

In September I photographed a beautiful jacket for María Árnadóttir that she created in LHÍ 

The first week of October I shot and directed a music video for Una Stef with the amazing dancer Díana Kristinsdóttir.
I learned so much from doing this video and I am so happy with it and what came from it for all of us.

I shot all the behind the scenes photos for the short-film VAKA and it was so nice and interesting to be a part of such a hard working and brilliant crew.
I wish I could link to the film here but it's not online just yet.

Looking back, everything this years seems to come in two's. In early November I shot a couple of commercials for the Icelandic Red Cross with the amazing Þórunn Lárusdóttir directing.

And later in November I shot two short-films for Guðný Rós and Nína Petersen who I went to school with in IFS. The shorts couldn't have been more different in style and tone, haha.
Unfortunately neither of them is available online at this time. And I only have the poster for one of them.

 
 

I got a gig as a stage manager (I think that's the title) for the Icelandic version of Would I Lie To You? (A British panel show) that warped in December and will air in January 2017

Sitting in for the host, Logi Bergmann

Sitting in for the host, Logi Bergmann

I also started, kind of by accident, photographing dogs in the studio right before Christmas and feel this might become something. 
Want your dog photographed? Contact me!

Other than that, Christmas and the holidays have been sweet and I am looking forward to the Áramótaskaup tonight. 
Atli and I got a slate fo Christmas so we should be off making our own films very soon (haha)

Happy New Year to everyone!
Thank you all for a wonderful 2016 (even though things happened in the big news media that are maybe not as celebratory) it was amazing to get to know all of you!

SPECIAL thanks for this year go to Kristján U. Kristjánsson for everything, and I mean everything.

Love to you all and look forward to some more good times in 2017!

Birta

2015: Recap

It's this time of year, again. Jesus how the year just slips away!
This year has been full of different kinds of revelations and new and exciting projects!

I spent Christmas and New Years in Skagaströnd with Jón Atlis family and when we came home to Reykjavík I assisted Nanna Dís with a photoshoot for an editorial for De Standaard, a magazine in Belgium. 

I did a photoshoot with Sædís Lind for the album cover of her new album Divinity.
The year was saturated with musicians and all kinds of talented people that I had the pleasure of working with.

The album cover

The album cover

Around a week later I got to work with the guys at Inside Iceland travel agency and it was so much fun (and so fucking cold!)

More photos from that photoshoot HERE

Later in January I bought a new lens, 135mm f/2.0, and tried it out in the studio the same evening. Oh god is it great! I still use it A LOT!

 

 

Would you just look at that! So pretty!

The very next day I teamed up with my very talented crew (Ástrós MUA, Sigrún Jörgensen stylist and Katrín Sif hairstylist at Sprey)  and together we created the series ERIS which was published in MAN magazine. I still really like the outcome from that shoot and it was very much what we were going for. 

I met up with Sunna Ben and snapped a couple of shots of her.

At the end of January I created an Instagram account for my precious and hilarious bunnies, @bunbunland. Here is one of my favorite photos of Lubbi:

Some people have babies, some people have bunnies - I guess.

Some people have babies, some people have bunnies - I guess.

Mid February the annual Sónar festival was held in Harpa and I went to photograph for LiveProject. It was so much fun and the first time I was photographing the atmosphere at a festival rather than the bands and I really really enjoyed it!

 

 

Fréttablaðið took an interview with me about my style - why? I don't have the slightest idea.

 

 

 

Late February I teamed back up with HilRag and photographed the new arrivals at her store, Einvera.
We called the series: Baby, one more time.

I drove with director and photographer Bowen Staines to the South of Iceland on a beautiful day to help him shoot a video to Valdimars new release Út úr þögninniI shot some B-roll and behind the scenes photos that were just beautiful. I already posted them on the blog so I am just gonna link to that post.

It's weird how, I don't know, fate? can sometimes just step in. A fellow photographer was asked early in March if he was able to cover a opening of a exhibition at DesignMarch and asked me if I was able to do it. I was and went to see Tanja Levýs amazing prints and designs and was so inspired I decided to let her know I was interested in doing a photoshoot with her if she were interested, and she was! We photographed Poison (in a bottle) and a lookbook a couple of months later.

The big fashion event was next up - Reykjavík Fashion Festival! And I was there, photographing the runway for the festival. I shot a lot more of behind the scenes photos this year since I didn't really get to do that last year.

Despite keeping @bunbunland going and always running around photographing my bunnies I felt like I wasn't photographing enough and since I was working down on Laugavegur at the time I decided to create Streets of Reykjavík. There have been street style columns in papers here in Iceland on and off but no-one really doing it all year round. And now I really get why - it's fucking hard, especially after I changed jobs and with the days getting shorter and shorter, and me being the only photographer doesn't really help haha. But it's worth it.
I did it because I love looking at people, not in a pervy or judgmental kind of way but observing, much like an anthropologist. And I know other people enjoy looking at other people, and seeing themselves or someone they know. It was also a great way for me to break out of my shell and talk to total strangers. I know I don't really have a problem striking up a conversation with people at the airport or at a bar or whatever but stopping people and asking them for a photo was somehow intimidating, and it just isn't anymore.

By the end of March I did two photoshoots, one with my super talented crew where we had a bit of a trouble finding a location since my studio closed in February. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that. Bye bye Red Dot Studios. You are missed.
I seriously dislike not having a studio any longer but there isn't exactly room in the budget for a new one right now, all the others have double the rent I was paying at Red Dot. sigh.
Anyway! The other photoshoot was with my talented designer friend Tanja Levý.
We shot at Vesturbæjarlaug but at a rather unconventional set up - under the pool. The photos are a part of the series POISON I mentioned earlier.

By the time April rolled around I lost my job at the store on Laugavegur and had a hard time finding a new job. I did Streets of Reykjavík but it hadn't started to bring me much income at the time so I did that and applied to tons of jobs in between.

Around mid April I did a bi annual photoshoot with Sprey Hárstofa (a salon in Mosfellsbær)

I got the honour of photographing the girls for #EmbraceYourself, the #16 episode of The Weird Girls Project and it was amazing. The video and photos came out pretty good. 

A couple of days after The Weird Girls Project I met with the wonderful Soffía Björg to shoot some photos for her upcoming album.
The day after I went to Harpa to photograph a lookbook for all the designer students graduating from LHÍ that spring and it was a riot since some didn't have all their clothes ready.
But they all looked pretty good, here are some examples from different designers:

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I got an email from a company called Flytographer and they asked me if I wanted to apply to join the team of photographers they have here in Iceland. I did but when collecting photos for my portfolio to show them I realized I simply had no time to fit it into my schedule so I declined. I did photograph my best friends, Kata and Sveinn for the portfolio and they are so cute I really must share the photos.

Early May I met with the band Ensími to shoot some promo photos.

I got the chance to photograph the very talented Ólafur Arnalds for an article in Nordic Style Magazine. I also had a short shoot with the singer Rebekka Sif.

It's not every day that you get to assist someone you really admire and I got to do that last May when the super talented photographer Kári Sverriss asked me to assist with a shoot. 

Lisa at Lima Model Management contacted me since they had a "New Face" model from Iceland and she needed photos. I met with Ástrós Erla and we did some beautyshots with Vala.
More photos here

The magazine Digital Photographer published an interview with me and I lucked out and got a free 32GB memory card for my camera with the article.

Next up was Secret Solstice! Oh how much fun it was!

This is probably one of my favorite photos I shot this year.

This is probably one of my favorite photos I shot this year.

After photographing Sónar earlier in the year where I was asked to focus on the mood and atmosphere I decided to try to capture that at Secret Solstice as well and it's totally where I belong, haha.
After Solstice I met with the guys from Agent Fresco and shot some promo photos.

And the enxt day I met with Arnar Freyr and Helgi Sæmundur from Úlfur Úlfur for some promo photos. Their album just came out and I also took the photos for the cover.

When I was looking for a job earlier I decided for the hell of it to apply for the Icelandic film school and in June I got this in the mail:

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I had met with the admins for a short interview and then just kind of forgot about it until this arrived, letting me know I was in!

This summer I photographed the first wedding in a while and it was a beautiful outdoors wedding in the south of Iceland. The bride was one of the LHÍ designer students I had shot the lookbook photos for earlier this year.

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The summer was very busy so I kind of stopped posting on @bunbunland. Looking at it now I'm thinking I should start it again.
I also got a product shoot for Tokens of Iceland, which is also something I haven't done in a while.

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Sigrún Jörgensen, my very talented friend, stylist and a make up artist asked me to do a photoshoot since she needed photos of herself for the Nordic Style Magazine gig.

Fréttablaðið also contacted me about Streets of Reykjavik - woo! (My photo is so stupid though)

School started in August and kind of took over. I didn't have as many photographing gigs since I simply didn't have the time.

I did get to photograph behind the scenes at The Voice Ísland and that was pretty cool.

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I met with Kiriyama Family and shot some promo photos

In the end of September I shot a music video for Unnur Sara to her new song, Að gelyma sér.

In October I met the band Dalí who just released their first album and needed some promo photos.

By mid-October I felt like I wasn't shooting enough so I met with an amazing model at Harpan and we created the series bombshell.

Late October I met again with the girls at Sprey to photograph the winter collection

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 I met the hilarious Bylgja Babýlons for some promo shots

November rolls around and that means only one thing here in Iceland: Airwaves!

Airwaves15 was so much fun - you can see all my photos here.
We had to shoot the final assignment at school and turn it in early December so at the time there was little to nothing that I was able to do beside work on that.
Unfortunately I can't post the video here since we are gonna try to get it into some festivals abroad that don't allow that the videos are accessible online. Later!
But here is a behind the scenes photo to give you the feel of it, haha.

2015 was maybe not totally a year of firsts but I did a lot of different kinds of shoots that I haven't done in a while. Products, wedding and now newborns. My best friends had twins so that was a first.

I had a tonsillectomy in December so I was totally off until... couple of days ago really. I wouldn't wish this upon anyone - really.
But even though I was not highly functioning during December does not mean I don't have couple of irons in the fire.
If you managed to get to the end I salute you, congratulation!

I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year and look forward to enjoying 2016 with you all!

xx
Birta Rán

Valdimars Út úr þögninni - Behind the scenes photos

I have changed the look on the website, with rising sun and longer days I decided to brighten it up. Hope you like it.

The new Valdimar video has been released so I am going to post the rest of the photos from the set.
I previously made a blog post with bts photos from the set but didn't put all of them up.

And here is the video: