Icelandic photographer Saga Sig’s fashion stories are as breathtaking and cool as the lakes and mountains she grew up with. Currently combining studying photography at the London School of Fashion with professional shoots for the likes of Topshop, the 24-year-old is a torrent of talent and creativity.
Twin caught up with her to discuss shooting fashion with friends, dirty London streets and dressing like a five-year-old.
Saga, How did you get into fashion photography?
I didn’t know much about fashion until I was about 18 or 19. I was quite a late bloomer when it comes to style to be honest. I used to play soccer, and in my teenagers years I wore Adidas and a Manchester United cap.
Then when I was 19 I started working in a vintage store in Reykjavik. I met some of my best friends there and we started doing little photo-shoots for the store. I would read magazines like i-D and Dazed and Confused, and a whole new world opened for me. I realised I could make stories and have adventures with fashion photography.
As my interest in fashion grew, I began to collect beautiful vintage items. You should see my closets now, they are full of sequins, feathers, crazy prints, cocktail dresses, vintage Versace and kimonos. I don’t really wear them that much but I like to look at them.
Why did you decide to move to London?
I moved to London in September 2009 to study fashion photography. I chose to study in London because I liked the creativity. London might seem like a grey city, but it isn’t at all. There are so many amazing talented and creative people that make it colourful and interesting. People are creating everywhere.
I like how the dirtiness meets the prettiness. The dirty streets meet the beautiful park, I like the contrast. I like how different it is to Reykjavik. I am so happy that I chose London; I have met so many wonderful people there and my photography has developed. I love every single day there.
What makes a fashion story come alive for you?
A fashion shoot that actually tells a story, where the styling, the model, the make-up and hair and the photography all come together to make a unique world. A fashion story is an image you get excited about, an image where you want to become the person in the picture. It’s an image that the viewer can relate to and believe that he or she can be a part of, yet still get lost in a fantasy world. The best fashion images are ones that never get outdated, images you can always look at, love and be inspired by.
What does fashion mean to you and your identity?
I love fashion and dressing up. I remember when I was five I used to pile on every piece of jewellery I could find. It was always prints, pink and quite acid colours. I dress quite similarly to that now. I feel like I’m never going to grow up, in style or personality.
Has being from Iceland influenced your work in anyway?
Yes, I think it definitely has shaped the person I am today. Because I lived in such isolated places in Iceland and wasn’t really aware of anything outside my little world. I didn’t really understand what fashion was. I read books, wrote little short stories, drew or played with my sister and brother and made little adventures in the amazing scenery I grew up in.
We lived in the national park Thingvellir, which is one of the most magical places on earth. It’s special for many reasons, it’s between the North American and the Euro-Asian plate, resulting in big cracks and earthquakes. There’s a special energy there I can’t explain. It really inspired me to start taking pictures. I wanted to document the beauty. I’m collector at heart, so I wanted to keep all my beautiful childhood moments forever. I learnt in my childhood to create my own stories and I’m still doing it now.
We love the work on your website– can you tell us a bit more about the shoots Beta and Slippurinn in particular?
The images Beta and Slippurinn are both shot in Iceland and styled by my friend Elisabet Alma. All my favourite shoots are done with her. We have been shooting together for years now. It’s friends having fun, almost like grown-up Barbie dolls playing. All the girls in the images are a friend of ours, wearing our clothes mixed with their own clothes. Slippurinn is actually shot outside my friend’s house in Iceland.