I first stumbled upon “That Icelandic Guy” on YouTube and was instantly drawn to his magnetic presence on camera. As he consistently grew his audience, I observed his genuine zest for the craft of photography and his dedication to mastering the process. His approach to content was not only educational but also captivating. With such passion and charisma displayed in his videos, I felt compelled to interview him and delve deeper into his journey in the world of photography.
Arnúlfur, is a photographer, a video creator from Iceland, and a full-time content creator who produces content daily for his personal brand: That Icelandic Guy.
In brief, I’ve always had a passion for creation. In 2008, I developed a fascination for magic and worked as a semi-professional magician. Creating magical moments and experiences for people was truly rewarding. This journey led me to establish a YouTube channel in 2016, marking my foray into video creation, content production, and a growing interest in photography. I sold most of my belongings and embarked on a journey armed with several decks of cards and a camera.
Subsequently, my passion evolved, and I started a new YouTube channel devoted to photography and filmmaking: That Icelandic Guy. Between 2017 and 2018, I undertook a 365-day photography challenge, committing to post a photo on Instagram daily. The goal was to hone my photography skills. I remained consistent throughout the year and, by the end of 2017, I secured my first paid photography gig.
Post-challenge, I continued producing content for both my YouTube channels and Instagram weekly, while also undertaking more photography and filmmaking projects. I recognized TikTok’s potential in September and invested considerable effort there, sometimes uploading up to four videos daily, whilst maintaining a regular upload schedule on YouTube and Instagram. I took a break from creating magic-themed content due to time constraints. My perseverance paid off, resulting in significant growth on the platform.
Nowadays, I’m more selective about my content output, given family commitments; I have a child and another due this summer. However, I remain active across all my social media platforms, constantly exploring new avenues and platforms. I’m naturally inquisitive and relish working, particularly on honing my craft and fuelling my creativity.
My name “That Icelandic Guy” has its own backstory. My real name, Arnúlfur Hákonarson, is an ancient Icelandic name, challenging for non-native Icelandic speakers. For a long time, my channel’s name mirrored my own, but I pondered, “If someone enjoys my content, would they remember or even pronounce my channel’s name?” Hence, “That Icelandic Guy” was born. I’m fond of the name, especially since Iceland is both a popular and picturesque destination.
I’m passionate about seeking the perfect lighting and capturing stunning frames, be it landscapes, cityscapes, or portraits. The allure of capturing a magnificent image is unparalleled. My introduction to photography was incidental, originating from content creation for another passion. Over time, it burgeoned into a dominant passion. I’ve assisted on numerous high-profile shoots. While it might not be my favourite activity, being a part of substantial projects and witnessing the inner workings of commercial photography is enlightening.
My photography is profoundly influenced by Iceland’s austere landscapes. I’m fond of landscape photography, and Iceland offers the perfect backdrop for it. YouTube is both my passion and profession. It grants me the liberty to manifest my ideas globally, requiring just a camera, a computer, and an internet connection. Presently, I reside in Stockholm, Sweden, a city renowned for its architectural beauty. Although I miss Iceland’s majestic landscapes, Stockholm offers abundant opportunities for street photography, a genre I seldom explored in Iceland.
Inspiration is omnipresent for me. Whether it’s nature, music, the weather, or various individuals, there’s always something igniting my creativity. Some photographers I deeply admire include Jimmy Chin, Ragnar Axelson, Ana Julia Gobbi, Mikko Lagerstedt, and Tobias Hägg.
In terms of style, while I gravitate towards grandiose themes, I’ve recently developed an affinity for minimalistic photography.
I discovered my passion for photography in my twenties.
I have an affection for landscape and cityscape photography. My style is an amalgamation, influenced by my surroundings. In Iceland, it’s predominantly landscapes, while in urban settings, it’s the concrete jungle. People often feature in my photographs, primarily to provide scale or set a mood. There’s an unmatched satisfaction in capturing a spontaneous moment, like a stranger walking into a frame I’ve patiently waited to capture.
While I appreciate portrait photography, it’s an area I’ve yet to explore extensively. Our previous conversation concluded with plans to exchange insights!
On the rare occasions I work with models, I ensure they align with my creative vision. My go-to equipment comprises a Sony APSC with an assortment of lenses. I recently acquired a Sony A7IV coupled with a Sigma 24-70 f2.8 ART – an impeccable combination.
My photographic style has undergone transformations. Previously, I preferred desaturated, moody aesthetics. Currently, I favour selective saturation, capturing primarily during overcast conditions to achieve the desired mood. Editing plays a pivotal role in my process, primarily in Lightroom, with finishing touches in Photoshop. My work often highlights my penchant for lines.
While I have a keen interest in art, I also enjoy visiting museums and galleries. To reiterate, photographers like Jimmy Chin, Ragnar Axelson, Ana Julia Gobbi, Mikko Lagerstedt, and Tobias Hägg have significantly influenced me. My current endeavours involve exploring new horizons, establishing connections, learning, and investing in intriguing projects. The rapid advancements in technology intrigue me, and I believe it will soon be an integral part of our daily lives, akin to the Internet.
My primary exposure channels include social media and occasional gallery visits.
My gear selection varies based on the subject. A 24-70 lens is my favourite, but I also fancy a 200-600 lens for landscapes, offering a distinctive compressed aesthetic.
I haven’t hosted an exhibition yet, but it’s on my to-do list.
My YouTube channel revolves around photography and filmmaking, an amalgamation of my passion and profession. Here‘s a video discussing my one-year photo challenge!
Collaborations often materialise when brands identify synergies. Such alliances have broadened my exposure and fostered further partnerships.
I have numerous ongoing projects: a forthcoming course, collaboration with Sony, and establishing my web3 presence. Concurrently, my podcast is gathering traction, I’m conceptualising innovative YouTube content, and I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of my second child this summer.