Profile: Iceland’s nature photography superstar

Ragnar Th. Sigurðsson has teamed up with Toyota, Royal Geographical Society, Discover the World, and now – Perlan. Specializing in arctic photography, he is one of Iceland’s leading photographers.

Singularity within his specialization

Ragnar pioneered the use of computers and digital equipment in Icelandic photography. He established Arctic-Images in 1985, his own studio and graphic work firm. He constantly experiments with new methods and photographic equipment – everything from computer software to drones and alien-looking cameras. This interest of his, his innovative mindset and passion for nature have opened a world of possibilities for Ragnar to bring natural wonders alive in unique ways.

Earning international acclaim

Since 1975, Ragnar has mastered a broad range of assignments. Those include covering official engagements in Iceland, shooting for vast advertising campaigns, and participating in book, calendar and magazine production. His specialization is evident throughout his work – nature and travel photography. Influencers worldwide have proudly flaunted Ragnar’s work and highlighted his success in the industry; The New York Times, Newsweek, Time, National Geographic, Digital Photographer, New Scientists and many more.

Ragnar at Perlan

Ragnar’s work at Perlan bears witness to his expertise.

  • Photographic masterpieces cover large walls at Perlan’s exhibitions. Many of them are merged together from hundreds of photographs. His piece from Fljótshlíð district is one example, see all about it here. Another one covers the walls of a circular exhibition area about glaciers. It shows you 360° views from above Vatnajökull glacier.
  • For the making of Áróra, Perlan’s planetarium show, Ragnar reached for the stars – and caught them. Together with Snorri Thor Tryggvason photographer, they created truly unique 8K and 360° footage of the Milky Way and northern lights, which now dance all around Perlan’s visitors in a dome theatre.
  • Ragnar also works with much smaller natural wonders. For the exhibition Water in Icelandic nature, he created images of tiny water creatures, some of which were only 10 mm in diameter. To do so, he shot 50-100 photos of a single creature, keeping only a fraction of it in focus each time. He then merged together the small pieces that were in focus on each photo to create large images of the tiny creatures. This process would often require more than a day’s work.

To this day, Ragnar is always on his toes and ready to follow the weather around Iceland to photograph natural wonders at their best. For him, it is simple: “I follow the light, not time.”

Ragnar’s photograph from Fljótshlíð district, made from hundreds of photos. It currently covers a large wall in Perlan’s reception area.

Ragnar and Snorri at frozen Lake Mývatn, photographing northern lights for Perlan’s planetarium show, 2019.

One of the water creatures Ragnar photographed.

Photographer: Ragnar Th. Sigurðsson