In the Special 60th Edition of Aesthetica we celebrate the emerging photographers that are shaping the future of the image-based practice in The Next Generation. We have partnered with the London College of Communication to survey some of photography’s rising stars and showcase their fresh ideas and new concepts. Þorsteinn Cameron’s work takes a look at technology’s influence in modern society. While dealing with a wide spectrum of modern mediums, Cameron’s practice has remained firmly grounded in the natural landscapes of Iceland.
A: You are interested in modern technology, how is this expressed in your photography?
TC: Technology is what defines us as a species. My work has increasingly begun to explore man’s long-standing symbiosis with machines and the abstract potential of their continued union. Recently, I have been interested in computer vision and how digital technology is beginning to try and understand photography, a medium that is inherently ambiguous. For a computer to not only see but also to understand what it is looking at is extremely interesting, and in relation to that I have also begun working with rudimentary forms of artificial intelligence. Through my work I try to expose comical faults in these technologies, the human imperfections that are inherently programmed into them.
A:In Aesthetica Issue 60 a piece from your series Fjoll (Mountains) is featured – please can you explain the ideas behind this image.
TC: Growing up in Iceland I had mountains and wilderness at my doorstep and the series Fjöll was in many ways a reaction to losing those spaces upon moving to London. Whilst staring out of the windows of double decker buses, I soon began to imagine these piles of rubble in as isolated and miniature mountain ranges. Their micro landscape presented an equal amount of complexity as their bigger brothers back home. After I had photographed all my local construction sites I began to scroll through Google Maps satellite images in search of more mountains. My search for mountains in London took on many similar aspects to mountaineering back home. The final photographs show the constantly evolving urban landscape but also remind me of the slow geological pace of nature.
A: You often capture images of Iceland – what is about this landscape that you enjoy?
TC: Geologically speaking Iceland is still a relatively young place and the landscape is in constant flux. At this very moment we are waiting for a large volcano to erupt on the north side of Vatnajökull. If it does go off then this will be the third sizeable eruption in the last four years. It is very rare to find such an active environment and there’s something about its liveliness that engenders a certain respect for the landscape.
A: Can you remember the first photograph you took?
TC: I don’t remember! But, my mum will never let me forget that one time she found me lying in the middle of the floor in the Vatican after I had borrowed her camera. Apparently I just had to get the right angle, never mind all the people that were trying to walk past me!
A: What are you working on at the moment?
TC: I’m currently working as a glacier guide in Iceland. I plan to continue living here for the rest of the season or until I’ve saved up enough money to go on a climbing road trip to Italy. I try to spend the little free time I have on my personal projects and I hope to show some work in Iceland soon. I also plan to visit London as soon as possible as I made lots of great friends there during my time at the London College of Communication.
Find out more about Þorsteinn Cameron at www.thorsteinncameron.org.
1. Þorsteinn Cameron, Fjoll (Mountains), 2012.
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