Photography

Un hueco en el sol Exhibit Opening - Habana Vieja, Cuba 5.6.03
Un hueco en el sol Exhibit Opening - Habana Vieja,....
© Aldo Mederos.
'You tend to be paying more attention when you have a camera. You look more attentively. You're much more aware of the landscape. Whether you use it or not, everything kind of changes when you've got the camera with you, the potential of using it.' - Viggo Mortensen

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Photography

"This world is a dream we all contribute to, in one way or another. We are part of the dream, if we are aware or not, if we like it or not. These pictures are a part of my dream, of the way I exist and act in the world."

Viggo Mortensen, The Photographer Of Dreams
By Giovanni Valerio - translated by Cindalea
July 2008
Source: Panorama First




'In a way, I am a photographer even when I don't take pictures. I think it's an instinctive thing by now, a part of myself.'

Viggo Mortensen, The Photographer Of Dreams
By Giovanni Valerio - translated by Cindalea
July 2008
Source: Panorama First




'This is only me and my camera. I sit down and watch the sky, stop, and maybe sing a little or write something down. When I have time to do that, I am as happy as I can be.'

Viggo Mortensen
Capable Of Many Things
By Hanna Björk Valsdóttir - translated by Ragga
30 May 2008
Source: Fréttablaðið




".... you can spend days travelling around, walking around, looking at a window, and just the possibility that it could be a picture, even if it doesn't become one, you're looking at something, you're actually paying more attention. "

Viggo Mortensen Interview
Sunday Arts: ABC Australia
By Virginia Trioli
26 April 2009




"Recently, I'm doing digital photography almost exclusively. I have old cameras, two from 1903 which I sometimes also continue using."

Web Chat with Viggo Mortensen
20 Minutos
Translated by Ollie, Rio and Zoe
6 September 2012




Do the directors, the screenwriters, the photographers that you meet in film projects influence your artistic work?

When I'm working on a film, I don't take photos on the set, but yes, what the photographer does influences me, if he does interesting things and gives me something. I'm also influenced by the story that we're telling and the character that I'm preparing. As a result, I take a kind of photos that I wouldn't have done if I hadn't been part of that production.

Viggo Mortensen - All of Us are Mestizos
by Carlos Shilling - translated by Ollie, Remolina, Rio and Zoe
LaVoz
November 2010




So how good a photographer is he? I've looked at two of Mortensen's books and from that evidence I would hazard the opinion that he is very good indeed.

Mark Power
The Salt Mine
3 September 2008




It's not pretty pictures he's after, it's the thread of his existence as Viggo Mortensen. But paradoxically his pictures can be pretty. They can also be sophisticated, crude, elegant, or mundane. He plays the camera like a musical instrument. It's a conversational kind of photography: it's Viggo telling you who he is with images. He looks at everything, believes everything has a meaning, and he shows you his pictures in the belief that seeing might reveals the hidden mysteries of everyday life.

Mark Power
The Salt Mine
3 September 2008




Viggo Mortensen's photographs can be explained as poetic; sometimes the focus is shallow, a lot of movement, light sometimes leaks into the pictures and makes weird influences.

Dreaming About Telling Stories
By Einar Fal Ingolfsson - translated by Rosen and Ragga
29 May 2008
Source: Morgunblaðið




What was it that inspired you to start making photos?

Nothing in particular. Perhaps it has something to do with a sort of incurable, persistent nosiness.

Q&A with Viggo Mortensen
by Natalie Dodecker
American Photo magazine 2000




Did you and Viggo Mortensen use homemade cameras?

We're not that renaissance. Viggo's got an old hasselblad that he takes forever to focus & shoot. But I must admit he's got some real talent behind the lens. . . not too bad in front either.

John Doe
John Doe finds Emily at a Crossroads
By Emily Strange
Emilystrange.com
June 2012




He got the idea for the exhibition [sadanset] while he was looking at pictures and discovered that two of them sort of continued in each other. He got interested and the next 14 days he worked his way through a pile of pictures to find photos that could continue the horizon-line and make the puzzle more complete.
Also five pictures from one of Mortensen's earlier books raised his interest. The five photos are very similar, but originate from different continents. The pictures show, according to the artist, that people and landscapes are connected.

From movies to photos
Jyllandsposten
Jette Hansen
19 October 2008




'There are images of forests, mountains and animals. Everything is connected. We are related to the animals and we are also in a way animals ourselves. When I see my own pictures, it's like seeing a movie. It is, for example a single moment in a film scene, that you remember. So is also the case with my pictures. I remember the places I've been to and can go there again through the pictures, Viggo says.'

Viggo on the sadanset exhibition
Kim Kastrup
Ekstra Bladet
16 October 2008




"Some of the pictures are good, even if they stand alone. Others are not that interesting" he judges. He continues "But it is the Whole, that is important to me."

Viggo talking about sadanset
From movies to photos
Jyllandsposten
Jette Hansen
19 October 2008




In a rather humble statement from someone of such artistic stature and talent, there were only a few of Mortensen's works on display. But, the small room dedicated to his work dictated only a few images could be mounted well. Mortensen's photographs are humbling and a bar artists should hope to achieve themselves after thirty plus-years of photographing.

Jaxon House Rocks With Perceval Press Artists: Newsom, Milstein, Bryce, Mortensen
by Kriss Perras
PCH Press, June 18, 2006




Not everything's a masterpiece, of course, not by a long shot. But when Mortensen's good, when he's firing on all cylinders, he has the ability to produce some truly breathtaking images. According to Dennis Hopper, it's because Mortensen's instincts "come from the right place, from the subconscious."

Whether he's shooting around the fringes of a set or among the people who populate his personal life, Mortensen's best photographs capture the partial, the fleeting and the unnoticed with surprising ease. One critic described them as "perfectly colloquial." In other words, he makes great snapshots.

The Other Side of Viggo Mortensen
By Paul Young
Variety Life, 2003




'I decided to take photos of trees for this show because there are no trees in Iceland. I decided to bring trees to Iceland.'

Viggo Mortensen on the Skovbo Exhibition
Capable Of Many Things
By Hanna Björk Valsdóttir - translated by Ragga
30 May 2008
Source: Fréttablaðið




Mortensen's photography is decidedly low-tech, utterly spontaneous, and free of preconception, employing no staged lighting or posing. He literally takes pictures of what is right in front of him. But there is certainly saturation to his colors and a mystique to the content which captures the sometimes obscure significance in the ordinary moments pictured. Mortensen's stills are often as much a question as they are an answer.

Things Are Weird Enough
by Shana Nys Dambrot
Juxtapoz magazine #19, 1999




'I'm sure I could be a lot more efficient and productive than I am, but there's enough stuff just there. I don't like to arrange. There are a lot of photographs of people that I've seen where it's obviously a very staged scene - something really choreographed, designed, lit a certain way. I don't know if its just laziness or preference but I like to shoot just with what's there, whether its night or day. Just what's happening- what I see, without interfering. I mean, things are weird enough, and people do strange enough things, that I don't think you have to try.'

Viggo Mortensen
Things Are Weird Enough
by Shana Nys Dambrot
Juxtapoz magazine #19, 1999




ST: I was trying to figure out the process for those flares. I thought that burn came from the development process.

VM: No, it was in the camera. The wiring that advanced the film and activated the flash got messed up. I was fishing and dropped the camera and it got wet. When it dried out, it started doing that. I shot a roll, saw it and thought, "Oh, shit." But when I looked at them, I thought that some of them looked kind of interesting. So on the next roll, I tried moving the wire all the way to one side and the flares would go to that side. Then I moved it to the middle, the right, and on the bottom and shot maybe eight rolls of film before it stopped working altogether.

A Religious Moment Where Something Might Happen
By Scott Thill
20 September 2002
Source: Morphizm




"Great artists," writes critic Kevin Powers, "tell us the task is to train and polish the attention within the brilliance of our small shipwrecks. Viggo does that both insistently and obsessively; he trains his eye to find small wonders and flashes of surprise, and these things are polished by the way he frames them. It is this framing that clearly - both formally and unconsciously - corresponds to his sense of how things are."

Kevin Powers
The Other Side of Viggo Mortensen
By Paul Young
Variety Life, 2003




'You tend to be paying more attention when you have a camera. You look more attentively. You're much more aware of the landscape. Whether you use it or not, everything kind of changes when you've got the camera with you, the potential of using it.'

Viggo Mortensen
A Visit With Viggo
By Marianne Love
Sandpoint magazine, 2004




Mortensen likes sotto voce details; he gives his attention to instants that would otherwise have passed by unobserved, or more significantly, unregistered - things that in a literal sense were simply there for him because he was there for them - things that would have easily passed by as all else passes by, as we ourselves finally do.

Kevin Power
Viggo Mortensen: A Life Tracking Itself
Singlanguage 2002




We asked Viggo Mortensen to help us celebrate the arrival of the extended edition DVD of The Return of the King by letting us publish some of the great photos he took while on the set. Senior editor Tom Roston, who worked with Mortensen on this special package, says, 'Two years ago, I spent a few days in Montana with Viggo while he was shooting Hidalgo, and I swear he was never without a camera. One moment he was slamming on the brakes to photograph a horse on a hill, and the next, he was slowing down to take a picture of a cloud. Viggo's a passionate guy, and few things compare with his fondness for the experience of making the Rings Trilogy, especially for the people involved. He's also really generous, and I think those two attributes are what led him to share these photographs with the readers of Premiere.'

Editorial
Premiere, November 2004




Wandering around the gallery in bare feet sporting a Lord of the Rings shirt, Mortensen describes how one series of photographs on show were a bit of a fluke. Lost 1,2,3 and 4, he jokingly calls them, were taken when he was geographically challenged in the bush on the West Coast one night. The photographs were snapped so that the flash might give him light to get his bearings.

"I eventually had to lie down under a tree for a while till the moon came over me and I could figure out where I was."

Viggo Mortensen at the Massey exhibition, NZ.
Viggo Says Thanks in Pictures
by Bess Mason
Dominion Post, 2003




Rebecca Wilson is curating his show at the Hirschfield Gallery. She says Mortensen's lyrical photographs are carefully observed meditations on life around him, and include portraits, landscapes and abstractions.

"His sensibility as a painter is a strong thread in his photography, where colour, light and movement express the artist's often intuitive response to his environment."

Rebecca Wilson on the Massey exhibition
"I'm a poet" - Rings star Mortensen
by Josie McNaught
Sunday Star-Times 2003




'I have a camera with a broken lens -- I was actually doing it two days ago in Montana. There were all these horses running and I was taking pictures and then the lens was just all screwed up. So I took it off. I don't know what it's going to look like. It's hopefully just going to be a good flow of shapes and color.'

Viggo Mortensen
A Religious Moment Where Something Might Happen
by Scott Thill
Morphizm 2002




Mortensen hasn't had time to do much painting the past couple of years. "In a way, I'm painting with the camera now, using more movement, getting less tidy and more aggressive," he says, pointing to an image from the Perceval Press catalog. "I'm experimenting with more abstract images, longer exposures."

V IS FOR VIGGO, by Hugh Hart
San Francisco Chronicle, 2003




"I was used to printing my pictures in the traditional way, but now I use the more up-to-date and common medium, the digital one. But I have a great respect for the image: all my pictures are shot on film, then I scan the negative. Basically, you get the same result, but more quickly, and for me, when you publish books, it's very important. Today, the paper and the ink are so good that the picture keeps the black and the contrast very well. In conclusion, the quality is as good as the one from the traditional print, so why not?"

Viggo Mortensen, The Photographer Of Dreams
By Giovanni Valerio - translated by Cindalea
July 2008
Source: Panorama First




I've photographed a lot with Leica and Hasselblad cameras but last year I started using disposable cameras. They won't be available a short time from now so it was good to use the opportunity while I could and play with them. I often expose the pictures for a long time, shoot directly into the sun. A lot of interesting things happen when the light goes through these unclear plastic lenses. The photos become different. Sometimes I throw the cameras to the ground to loosen the lens a little bit, then interesting things happen. Then you check out the films and choose the best ones. I have an opinion of how I want them to be."

Dreaming About Telling Stories
By Einar Fal Ingolfsson - translated by Rosen and Ragga
29 May 2008
Source: Morgunblaðið




'Some of the photos are bit blurry though, Viggo, so perhaps you should buy yourself a tripod,'

Peter Jackson at the "For Wellington' opening, Massey University
Stars Come Out For Exhibition Launch
Massey University
1st Dec 2003

Last edited: 14 January 2013 15:27:44