Photos by Friðgeir Helgason
Friðgeir Helgason was born on the small island of Vestmannaeyjar off of the south coast of Iceland. At 6 years old, he and his family were evacuated to escape a volcanic eruption that in the weeks that followed, lead to the loss of their home.
He spent most of his formative years in Reykjavík with summer breaks spent at sea working on fishing trawlers and merchant marine ships. Friðgeir dropped out of school when the Prime Minister of Iceland, Steingrimur Hermansson, gave him a ticket to Europe for winning the equivalent of Rock n’ Roll Jeopardy. He set off to see the world.
Friðgeir first visited the United States as a tourist, arriving on Christmas Day in 1986. Within a few years, he was living in Louisiana, working as a promising young chef in New Orleans.
In 2004, Friðgeir’s personal life collapsed – homeless and addicted – he was living in a cardboard box on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles. He checked himself into the Midnight Mission, which primary purpose is to take the homeless off Skid Row and re-establish them again as useful and self-respecting citizen, he formally graduated from the program in 2006. During his stay at the mission, he returned to school, studying Cinematography at Los Angeles City College. During a requisite Beginning Photography Class, Friðgeir discovered his creative voice in photography.
Friðgeir Helgason shoots film on a 6×7 Medium Format Camera and a 4×5 Large Format Camera. He prints in both color and black and white.
The exhibition was a part of Icelandic Photography Festival, which took place between 14 and 17 January 2016.