4 class photos at the ETERNAL LIFE exhibition, Akureyri Municipal Art Museum, Iceland,
November 1996

In many countries it is customary for schools, especially secondary schools and even universities, produce class photos. In Iceland they basically have the same format: at the top is a picture of the school, the headmaster and teachers, the name of the school and the years of the respective class. Below are oval photographs of the students, in alphabetical order.
In connection with the Eternal Life exhibition at Akureyri Municipal Art Museum, Thorsteinsson decided to produce class photos in honor of the towns “academies” that he wanted to present in particular. They turned out to be a grocers shop, a shoemakers, a second-hand bookshop and a menswear shop, all sharing the singular quality of being run by people who talk to their customers like human beings and give them all the time they need. Places where people occupy themselves with almost anything but hard-headed shopping, such as chatting about the issues of the day; places where the customers are richer when they leave than when they went in.
The owners of these firms were provided with a camera with a 24-frame roll of film and were asked to photograph their customers until the film was finished.
Thorsteinsson then completed the class photos* so that the owners became the “headmasters”, the time the photography took defined the “year”, a picture of the firm represented the “school” and the customers became the “students”.

*In collaboration with photographer Pall A. Palsson and calligrapher Rannveig Helgadottir.


home | news | recent entries | visual timeline | resume | browse & search | contact | site design