Grófarsalur 16.09.2023 to 10.12.2023

Gréta S. Guðjónsdóttir │19, 24, 29, 34, 39 – Fate and Destiny

19, 24, 29, 34, 39 – Fate and Destiny is an exhibition by Gréta S. Guðjónsdóttir, which is to open at the Reykjavík Museum of Photography on Saturday, 16 September. The exhibition comprises a series of photographs of nine individuals taken by Gréta over a period of twenty years, together with their thoughts about life and existence.

5 ljósmyndir skeyttar saman í eina. Á myndunum er sami karlmaðurinn en á mismunandi aldri.
Gréta S. Guðjónsdóttir │19, 24, 29, 34, 39 – Fate and Destiny

“When a person is 19, appearance is often very important. The individual’s philosophy in life may be read from their clothes, hairstyle, manner and home environment. But how far can each of us influence our own path in life? Do the dreams we started out with in our late teens come true?

When I was teaching this age group, I found it interesting and exciting to observe how many students had strong views on life and believed that they knew exactly what they were doing. They felt that we, their elders, had no understanding of their lives. The youngsters strove to dress in a way that reflected their philosophy and values. Older people, they felt, could not put themselves in the place of the young – those whose life was ahead of them, for whom the world was their oyster – those who were immortal.

What I found especially intriguing in my interaction with the young people – and what sparked the idea of this project was that these were much the same ideas as I had been dealing with at the same age. Striking clothes and hairstyles, provocative views, and a philosophy that challenged and defied the ideas and conventional outlook of the older generation. It is so interesting to observe how life is constantly repeating itself. It is as if everything goes around in circles, while people remain the same.

That led me to the idea of following up on these people in the form of both pictures and text. The first session took place in 2002 when I photographed nine young men and women who were my students on a photography course on the arts programme at the Breiðholt Comprehensive College. They were 19 years old at that time. For 20 years, I have followed up on them, tracking them down in various parts of the world, and photographed them again. They have also written down their thoughts about where they are now in their life and how they see themselves after five years and after ten. These former students are now turning 39 years old, and I have photographed them five times.  

The starting point is always the same. Initially, I take black-and-white portraits of them in a studio. The background is white, in order to highlight the manner and character of each person. I then visit each one in their home and photograph them in a place of their choosing, which they feel is most characteristic of them. In the early photographs, most of them opted to be photographed in their own room in the family home. As they grew older and moved into their own homes, they would generally pick the living room.

These twenty years since I embarked on the project have been wonderfully enjoyable and rewarding. And today, my former students are older than I was when we started out. They have become the ‘oldies’ who find it hard to put themselves in the place of a 19-year-old youngster.”

                                                                                                                                                                    Gréta S. Guðjónsdóttir

Gréta graduated with a Bachelor's in artistic photography from the Academy of Art, Holland, in 1996.  She has worked independently as a photographer in Iceland since 1996. She completed her studies in teaching and pedagogy at Icelands Teacher's Training College and has been teaching photography since 1997 in the art department in the high school in Breiðholt district.





Reykjavík Museum Of Photography

Grófarhús, Tryggvagata 15, top floor

101 Reykjavík

Tel: (+354) 411 6390


For groups (10+) bookings please send a request to:


Opening Hours

Opening Hours

Mon-Thu 10:00-18:00

Fri 11:00-18:00

Weekends 13:00-17:00

Christmas & New Year

Closed 24-26 Dec & 31 Dec-1 Jan.


Closed from Thurs-Mon

First Day of Summer

Closed 20 April

Labour Day

Closed 1 May

Ascension Day

Closed 13 May


Closed 23-24 May

The National Day

Closed 17 June




1,200 ISK

Students with student card

820 ISK

Children (0-17 years)




Reykjavík Culture Year Pass

7,450 ISK

City Card holders


Sign up to our mailing list

We will send you information about our events