Reykjavík Museum of Photography

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The stairway leading up to the museum

Reykjavík Museum of Photography, in Reykjavík, Iceland, preserves about five million photographs by professional and amateur photographers, from around 1870 to the present century. The collection includes studio portraits, and industrial, advertising, press, landscape and family photographs.


The museum began in 1981 from a private collection and was originally called Ljósmyndasafnið hf. Its name was changed to the Reykjavík Museum of Photography in 1987, when the city of Reykjavík took over its operations.[1] Since 2000, the museum has been at Tryggvagata, in the same building as the Reykjavik city library.

From 2014, the museum has been merged with three other museums belonging to Reykjavík: Vikin Maritime Museum, Minjasafn Reykjavíkur (the Settlement Exhibition and Árbær Open Air Museum) and Viðey. Two historical museums, Árbæjarsafn and Reykjavík 871±2, also belong to this consortium.[2]


The museum's aim is to "awaken the widest possible interest in the cultural role of photography".[3]

The museum nominates Icelandic photographers for the following awards:[4]

The museum has published a number of books.[n 1]

In 2014 the museum was named one of "The ten best free museums in Europe" in The Guardian.[6]


The camera is provided for the museum's youngest visitors.

The museum collects photographs and other material related to photographers of the Reykjavík area. It also acquires and preserves photographs, albums and other items of vernacular photographic culture.[7]


Each year, the museum holds about three main exhibitions and more than ten smaller shows.

A few highlights from previous exhibitions:


  1. ^ Móðirin í íslenskum ljósmyndum = Mothers in Icelandic Photographs (2000, ISBN 9979934557); Magnús Ólafsson: Ljósmyndari = Magnús Ólafsson: Photographer (2003, ISBN 997993459X). For several years starting in 1998, the museum held an annual lecture on 10 May in memory of the photographer Magnús Ólafsson [Wikidata] (photographs); these were published the following year ("Reykjavik Museum of Photography", Iceland Guest).


  1. ^ "Borgin kaupir ljósmyndasafnið", Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic) (91) 23 April 1987, p. 20
  2. ^ "Fjögur söfn sameinuð í Reykjavík", RÚV.
    - "About Reykjavik City Museum". Reykjavík City Museum.
  3. ^ "Art museums", Center for Icelandic Art.
  4. ^ "Tilnefningar til alþjóðlegra Ljósmyndaverðlauna". Museum blog, 10 December 2009.
  5. ^ "Dagbók í myndum." Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic) (144) 29 May 2009. p. 41
  6. ^ Will Coldwell, "10 of the best free museums in Europe", The Guardian, 21 January 2014.
  7. ^ "Collection", Ljósmyndasafn Reykjavíkur
  8. ^ "Margir skoðuðu myndir Cartier-Bresson", Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic) (92) 25. April 2001. p. 65
  9. ^ "Einn þekktasti ljósmyndari heims", Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic) (114) 17 May 2002. p. 70
    - "Fólkið á jaðrinum", Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic) (105) 10 May 2002, p. 15
  10. ^ "Viggo Mortensen Photo Exhibit", Reykjavík Grapevine (6) 17 May 2008. p. 33
  11. ^ "Art Galleries and museums" Reykjavík Grapevine (17) 6 November 2009. p. 19
    - "Sýningu á verkum Kertész lýkur senn", Morgunblaðið (in Icelandic) (9) 13 January 2010. p. 27
  12. ^ "Riboud í 50 ár" Fréttablaðið (in Icelandic) (202) 31. August 2011. p. 34
  13. ^ "Gallery: Ragnar Axelsson: Mirror of Life", Ljósmyndasafn Reykjavíkur.
    - "Mirror of life: Photographs by Ragnar Axelsson", Reykjavík Artfest.
  14. ^ "Art ongoing", Reykjavík Grapevine (18) 5. December 2014. p. 49

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 64°08′57″N 21°56′30″W / 64.149277°N 21.94165°W / 64.149277; -21.94165