Music & Art Apr 08, 2021

Get to Know Áskell Thorisson, Icelandic Photographer, Journalist and More

Check out a Q&A about his life and work in Iceland.

Are you interested in unique Icelandic art and beautiful landscapes? Get to know Áskell Thorisson, a creative Icelandic artist with a passion for photography and innovative design. 

Who is Áskell Thorisson?

I have worked as a journalist, photographer, editor and have been in the PR business in Iceland for over 50 years. In the early 1980s, I founded a newspaper for the Icelandic Farmers Association which became one of the most popular free newspapers in Iceland. 

Many years ago, I, among others, ran a radio show and later made a video-series for The Soil Conservation Service of Iceland about farmers and land reclamation. I am interested in finding ways to decrease greenhouse gases. My car is powered by methane and I am currently a member of the board of Landvernd, the Icelandic Environment Association.

What are you doing as a photographer that is different from other photographers?

I live in the countryside with many of Iceland’s most beautiful places in the immediate vicinity. I am most interested in macro photography and spend many days crawling on beaches and moors with a Nikon 850 camera and a tripod. Then, I process the images in Photoshop where the best are then printed on canvas – only one of each type. The challenge is to constantly find something new and exciting. It might surprise you, but some of my photos have been printed on fabric which will be used on dresses for women. 


Áskell and his daughter, Laufey Dora.

Yes, you heard right, dresses. The first dress is being sewn in Akranes which is a small town close to my home. Usually dresses are decorated with beautiful but drawn (and painted) flowers and other beautiful things. In my dresses, real Icelandic nature plays a leading role, by help of my photos. We use only environmentally friendly fabrics, and the photos are printed on the fabric in the UK.

When did you start taking pictures?

I was probably about 10 years old when I started taking pictures with a Kodak Instamatic, my first camera. The camera had a 126 film cassette and a flash on top that could be used four times. During my working life, I have been photographing people, landscapes, animals, new farming machinery to mention something but in recent years, I have had time to do what I most wanted to do – close-ups of Icelandic nature.

Many people your age have stopped working. What about you?

I am 68 years old and I still work two days a week for The Soil Conservation Service. Other days I’m photographing, working on photos and raising an 8-month-old Labrador (which is more consuming than I expected but I love it!). If the dresses become something, you might find me in fashion shows in Paris and Rome…. I admit that this dress-business is something I did not anticipate to happen. But it is fun. 

Why do you like to use Photoshop?

I use it a lot because it allows me to create something different. The base is always Icelandic nature. But Photoshop helps me to put something more from myself into the final product. I like vivid colours and Photoshop enables me to enhance them and enter new dimensions. In the end, it is the question of the taste of the potential buyer. But I only say it to you, just to you, that I have a decent collection of photos that usually end up as gifts for relatives on big anniversaries!

Have you been selling photos?

I am selling a few and I have a good fan base on Facebook! I also have my own homepage. It’s nice to get positive words from friends on Facebook. I have shown my pictures in four private exhibitions in Reykjavík with good results.

Is Iceland the country that photographers should visit? Why?

Iceland has a good reputation among photographers but those who are doing similar things as I am, you usually do not have to cross the creek to fetch the water.

Check out Askell’s homepage here and connect with him on Facebook!