Gabriel Nivera

Pictures & Conversations

A collection of images and the stories behind their creation.

Rúni Lobo Festirstein

Saksun, Stremoy


Many of the people I had met in the Faroes were people I had reached out to prior to arriving and made an arrangement with.  However despite my best efforts I was unable to fill all the activities that I wanted to photograph.  That's when I turned to asking the people I had made arrangements with to suggest and recommend any of their friends and colleagues. This worked out very well and is how I was put in touch with Rúni.  

Rúni is the youngest of three brothers, the eldest is living in Denmark working as an industry technician, the middle brother lives in Eiði and is studying to be a marine engineer.  Rúni was born to a Faroese mother and a Surinamese father.  He spent his childhood up to the age of six in Eiði (where his grandmother still lives), but due to the economy their family moved to Denmark.  However this only lasted about 4 years, and they returned to the Faroe Islands.  The beautiful outdoors, nature, and the tight community are things that Rúni values very much.  I asked if he would ever move away to settle somewhere else, and without hesitation his answer was no.  But like many Faroese that I met, Rúni is open to leaving the Faroe Islands for short periods of time to do contract work.  At the time we met, there was talk at his company of sending a few of the technicians to Iceland for 6 months, Rúni was considering going on this project.  It seems to be quite the norm for many Faroese to have this kind of arrangement.  They are a highly skilled and educated workforce so they are in demand in neighbouring countries that lack a large enough workforce to fill those roles.

 Rúni is a very active outdoorsman.  He rides his sportsbike, motorcross, mountainbike, goes diving, fishing, and hunts hare and seabirds just to name a few of his favourite activities.  On this day, I asked him to bring along his mountainbike and decided to meet up at the church in Saksun.  I had picked out a spot along the riverbank for him to ride around but at the last minute decided, "wouldn't biking through the river making a massive splash look really cool?!"  With that decision made, I took of my shoes and socks and waded in the cold water.  In hindsight maybe it was best to do this shot last, as it resulted in everyone and everything getting soaked.