Gunnar Pétursson, an amateur photographer from Reykjavík, had a long and remarkable career. Whether he photographed nature, the city or its people, all his work was characterised by his subjective view of his surroundings. He saw surfaces, shapes and textures, and strove to capture light and motion in his pictures. He was an active participant in the wave of amateur photography in Iceland in the years after World War II, when new perspectives and trends arrived, and photographic art came into being.
Gunnar was a nature-lover and an early member of the Iceland Touring Association, which has been organising hiking tours in wild territory since 1927. With his camera he travelled in Iceland‘s highlands and wildernesses, where he was often accompanied by photographer Ingibjörg Ólafsdóttir.
In view of the size of Gunnar‘s photographic archive, remarkably few of his photographs have been published. He took pictures primarily for himself, though always maintaining rigorous standards. Hence it is important to bring the visual world of this unassuming photographer into the public eye.
The exhibition in the Photo Gallery at the National Museum is based on research by Steinar Örn Erluson. In connection with the exhibition, his book on Gunnar Pétursson and his photography will be published. Steinar Örn held the Kristján Eldjárn research fellowship at the National Museum 2018-19.