GUEST PHOTOGRAPHER: Ari Sigvaldason
Ari, who has earned his Masters in Politics from the University of Copenhagen, runs a charming photography shop, Fótógrafí on Skólavörðurstígur in the heart of Reykjavik. He specializes in thoughtful, timeless black and white snapshots of daily life in our little city, and offers everything from postcards to posters of his, and other artists' works.
This photo of Ari's caught my eye, first for the lovely colors and secondly for the suggestion of beautiful things broken, abandoned, and returning to nature. Looking more closely, though, the gilded word Guð, or God, floated up from the center of the scene and a metaphor began to emerge.
I will write, I thought, about the ongoing debate on the separation of church and state, and slip in a mention of the Icelandic Ásatrúarfélagið, which is dedicated to maintaining a modern form of Norse paganism. The society, I would share, is a defining force in the movement to halt taxpayers money from flowing automatically into the Lutheran church system. I would also note the ongoing drama over the building of an Islamic mosque here in Reykjavik, and how, after a decade of delay, the issue is once again fragmented by inter-faith debate.
Ultimately, I would let the few wet green leaves be a delicate reminder that we are all of Nature born and back into Nature we will return. From the raw stuff of this earth we have created glorious structures, symbols and systems, many of which are now cracking under the strain of misuse, neglect or obsolescence. The question then is, what will we help to maintain, and what will we simply let go...