Gabriel Nivera
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Pictures & Conversations

A collection of images and the stories behind their creation.

Tóri Restorff Jacobsen

Leynar, Faroe Islands

As we enjoyed breakfast at the hotel, I could see the rain pelting down mercilessly.  A thick blanket of had enveloped Torshavn and you could not see anything out the window except for the dark clouds looming ominously with no end in sight.  Conditions were not ideal for an outdoor shoot, especially one out on the water.  I nearly called up Tori to cancel, but I decide against it.  I thought to myself, "I've come this far, there's no harm going to the location and seeing if we get lucky and catch a break in the weather.” I had scouted multiple locations in the previous days, but decided on Leynar because of its unique geography which lent itself to make a great location.  The estuary gave me a unique opportunity to photograph the kayak approaching from the sea without having to fight strong waves and undercurrents.  The cliffs on either side of the beach created a cove which sheltered the shore from full strength of the storm.  Lastly the large beach front with the postcard-worthy town of Leynar provided a beautiful backdrop which gave me lots of angles to work with.

Tori pulled up and on queue the rain and wind started to let up.  This lull in the storm gave us the window of opportunity to do our shoot. Tori quickly unloaded the kayak and we walked around the beach and shoreline picking the route we would take the kayak that would coincide with my camera positions.  Tori was born in Denmark to a Faroese father and Danish mother.  He grew up in the Faroe Islands enjoying the outdoor activities that the islands had to offer starting at a young age.  Tori was introduced to kayaking, one of his favourite hobbies, by his cello teacher who invited him to join him on a trip when he was 15.  It immediately found its way into his stable of hobbies along with fishing, hiking, cycling, boating in the lakes with his family.  His longest trip was from Velbastað to Saksun (the town i featured in my last blog). Yup, everyone in Faroe is fitter than you because all they do for fun is adventure sports.

Tori currently lives in Copenhagen, Denmark where he is finishing his Masters in Music at the National Academy of Music. He also teaches cello in Bornholm & Hillerød.  It was summer when we met him so he was visiting his family, most of whom are based int he Faroe Islands. Tori spent childhood growing up in the Faroes and had a long career playing cello with the Fareose Symphony Orchestra.  One of his big passions is working on old motorcycles.  He’s restoring two at the moment, a “Water Buffalo” - 1975 Suzuki GT 750 and a 1971 Honda CB 500.  

I asked Tori to paddle out of the cove and get some distance between us.  I waded into the surf - the water reaching just under my chest.  With no safety line, hip-waders, and the water at a chilly 8 degrees, this was probably not the smartest decision, but I was chasing a shot in my mind.  I pictured a wave crashing in the foreground, the white foam cresting and Tori in his yellow kayak slicing gracefully through the waves.  It was not soon after that more ominous clouds could be spied rolling in over the horizon.  With the storm returning, we decided to call it a day and wrap it up.  Soaked and soggy, I was pleased we made the decision to come out that morning.  The physical discomfort was worth every second to get the shot I had been imagining ever since conceptualizing this shoot.

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