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Jessica Auer: Landvörður

9 June, 202210 September, 2022

Since 2016 Jessica Auer has been documenting the impact of mass tourism on Icelandic landscape and society.

Working between Canada and her studio in Iceland, Jessica‘s travels between these countries coincided with the tourism boom and as such, she navigated the gap between being a foreigner and a local. She saw both sides of the tourist gaze and sought to share this experience through photography and video.

When travel came to a standstill during the pandemic, Jessica’s work took a significant turn, reflecting on the value systems of this boom and bust industry. Her most recent photographs turn their attention towards landscape conservation, and the efforts to protect areas vulnerable to exploitation during the uncertainty of a global pandemic.

Throughout these last years, Jessica has travelled around the country with a large format view camera, capturing portraits of park rangers, wardens and other people who occupy this environment.

These exchanges created the opportunity to discuss the cultural and natural value of the Icelandic landscape. Through portraiture, landscape photography and video, the exhibition Landvörður presents a meditation on the collective responsibility of Icelanders and visitors to preserve this unique nature, and considers the paradox of attempting to preserve the same landscapes that the tourism industry seeks to exploit.

Jessica Auer is a Canadian photographer, filmmaker and teacher who currently lives in Seyðisfjörður, Iceland. Her work has been presented in museums, galleries and festivals, including The National Museum of Iceland, The Canadian Center for Architecture and the Mulhouse Photography Biennale in France. In 2020, Jessica’s portfolio “Looking North” was awarded the Magnús Ólafsson Grant from the Reykjavík Museum of Photography. The same work was published by Another Place Press in 2021 and featured by ARTE television network and The Guardian. Jessica holds an MFA from Concordia University in Montréal, where she teaches photography part-time. While in Iceland, she runs Ströndin Studio in East Iceland.

The artist would like to thank Kormákur Máni Hafsteinsson and Zuhaitz Akizu for their contributions in the field, as well as Matthew Brooks and Luigi Iagulli for their assistance with post-production. The exhibition Landvörður was supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.


Reykjavík Museum of Photography
Grófarhús, Tryggvagata 15
Reykjavík, 101 Iceland
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