Somewhere deep in Iceland, there must be a secret lagoon that fuels the originality of Iceland’s creative exports. Iceland’s talented folk, including Björk, are unapologetically original with a fiercely unique style. Saga Sig’s mystic photography is no exception and her soft-hued photographs have been casting spells on the fashion industry since 2008. Her editorials transcend fashion and become works of art in themselves. Her photography, which feels like the aftermath of a hedonistic 70s party we wish we were invited to, have been in Vogue Japan, Harper’s Baazar and Nylon and she includes Nike and Topshop as clients. We catch up with Saga to chat about the magic of her homeland, inspiration and advice to new artists.
How did you get into photography?
The love of light in nature and my favourite light is twilight. I am fascinated with how our world transforms with the changing of light and how it affects us mentally. In Iceland, we have 24 hours of light in the summer and almost no light in the the winter, which really affects my mood and soul.
Before moving to London, to study at London College of Fashion, your blog had a huge following. How important is an online presence and how has it shaped your career?
It meant everything to my career. I moved to London without knowing anyone and within three months I shot my first campaign and was flown to spain – how amazing is that? I gained a lot of experience: Susie Lau of StyleBubble hired me whilst she was working for Dazed Digital and I photographed backstage at LFW. Being backstage for Meadham Kirchoff, Vivienne Westwood and Nazir Mazhar was incredible. I was blogging at the right time and blogs were huge back then. I don’t blog anymore but I have Instagram. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with social media – sometimes I love it – but at times I don’t think it is good to be exposed to so many things as I’m not sure it does any good for creativity. Social media does make it easier to be seen, connect with people and discover new things.
Do you have any advice for new photographer’s trying to break into the industry?
Work hard! It worries me that young people want to be famous: famous on Instagram and not ready to work hard for it. It is easy just to post a pretty picture but to build a career you need to work hard, assist and work for free to gain connections. Be incredibly passionate about what you do and most importantly find your voice and tell the truth. It is ok to be inspired but do not copy – if you have something unique going on, people will pick up on that.
You’re back in Iceland now. Do you miss London?
Yes, I really miss the people there but I can’t survive in London as it is too far from the ocean and nature. If I hadn’t moved to London, I think my work would still be pink and fairy like. It gave me and my work an edge; to live in a big city, all the struggles, hard work as well as being inspired by all the people I met.
Iceland serves as a beautiful backdrop to your photography. Do you have any recommendations? Any secret places for us to visit?
I recommend the west of Iceland. The south is jammed with tourists, I think there are more tourists than Icelandic people. I just came back from Strandir which is in the west and where most witches were found back in the old days. There is something special about the place and there is magic in the air. My boyfriend’s parents have a summer house by the ocean and yesterday we sat watching a whale jump and play in the ocean – it was really beautiful. I also love the northeast, where my mother lives. Places like Ásbyrgi and Mývatn are beautiful and there is a smaller blue lagoon there.
What’s next for you? What can we look forward to seeing?
I am at a crossroads in my career. I am still taking photographs but I am also directing films and I love painting too. I started directing last year and I love it. I’m slowly learning the art of film directing and I’m doing commercials, music videos and I’m working on a documentary. So I am excited to see where it takes me. I am also working on a magazine with my friends which will be out in late October and I’m also working on my first solo exhibition as a painter which will open on the 10th of October.
Lastly, what is your spirit animal?
A Snow Leopard. The first time I dreamt about my spirit animal, it chased me through a big desert of powdered-like snow, caught me and threw me around. I was scared of it but the last time I dreamt about it, I was in the woods when two big bears attacked me. I thought I was going to die but I saw my spirit animal and it became smaller and smaller until I thought it had disappeared. I suddenly realised it was within me and I attacked the bears and tore their eyes out – it it the most powerful and memorable dream I have ever had.