Web turns photographer into a global freelance

An Icelandic amateur photographer who has been using a camera for less than a year has broken into the world of freelance photography thanks to the unique reach of the Internet.

Rebekka Guoleifsdottir, 28, reportedly admits that 12 months ago she was fiddling with a Canon Digital Ixus pondering whether her untrained eye would ever produce a worthwhile image.

After posting some of her photos on the community website Flickr, the single mum from Hafnarfjorour, near Reykjavik, was spotted by The Wall Street Journal and Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine.

Since her photos have taken to the Web, Flickr reports they have received 1.6m visits, making it the most popular of all the website’s 4m users, The Observer reported.

“The Web changes opportunities for all kinds of artists, like musicians,” Ms Guoleifsdottir told the Sunday paper.

“It’s so much easier to get your stuff out there. Iceland is a small community of 300,000 people and it’s hard to get recognized, but this way you can reach out everywhere.”

Her photos, which often feature herself with her six-year-old son, posing against striking Icelandic landscapes, have also turned heads at car giant Toyota, which will become her first corporate client in September.

She has also won two assignments taking celebrity portraits and is tipped to continue making money by using the internet to market her unique brand of photography.

This brand includes optical illusions in the photos, in addition to a heavy use of Photoshop software and endless determination and patients, which enables a perfect, albeit haunting, final appearance.

“I treat my photos on the way I would if I was a painter,” she said. “I can’t paint so I use the camera instead of a paintbrush and canvas. I do a lot of creating unusual scenes that look real to get people to ask me, ‘How do you get the colours and the depth?’ The answer is I’ve been working on them everyday for hours. I’m not a street photographer who goes out and shoots everything they see.”

One admirer of Rebekka’s work, posting on a social community portal for photographers, said: ”Rebekka is to photography what Bjork is to music, every picture is a work of art.”

Modestly, the freelance claims her success is due to her struggling as a painter during her current first-year studies as a visual arts student.


14th August 2006

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