Viggo once mentioned that he was shocked when he realised that other artists were doing the same as he did. This is confirming that he is just doing his thing and not relying on others work. Certainly he is influenced by others and his time, but he is not reflecting on the art of others, but only letting his own inspiration free.


His photographs elevate the inconsequential details of every day life and make them seem worth our interest. Some of them could be snapshots that are in everyone's family album. But with the increased intensity of color, this common place photo takes on a dream like quality. (...) It is the angle of the shot and the composition and juxtaposition that shows his talent. I think these last two qualities give the photos mystery and, to me, a hint of danger. I liked them very much.

Rosemary Sheel, photographer


Mortensen's photography is decidedly low-tech, utterly spontaneous, and free of preconception, employing no staged lighting or posing. He litteraly takes pictures of what is right in front of him. But there is certainly saturation to his colors and a mystique to the content which captures the sometimes obscure signficance in the ordinary moments pictured. Mortensen's stills are often as much a question as they are an answer.

Things Are Weird Enough Juxtapoz Magazine, April 1999


Viggo's art is really rooted to the earth and nature. It's phenomenal. I love the colours. And everything's a little askew. He always keeps you guessing.

Dominic Monaghan
in The Artist Formerly Known As King,
Impact, April 2002


Obviously, pictures are one person's perspective. They tend to be almost a visualisation of that person's eyes and what they see. [Viggo's] A very interesting guy and I think you get to see what he sees -- to a certain degree -- in his photos. I hope that's not being too wanky, but I mean he's just got a wonderful vision and he sees things in a beautiful way. I don't think you can describe it. It's not a perspective that you've seen. It's not like a perfect framing. Everything is slightly off. He allows things to be natural and blurred and I like that. I like that quality.

Elijah Wood in
The Artist Formerly Known As King,
Impact, April 2002




I think I take photos to make sure that I notice things. Some things you remember many years from now - without knowing why. And everybody remembers differently. Our pictures of the same event will be different from each other.

I take pictures at the edges of the things happening. So many strange things happen. I know lots of artists change reality, change the motif, to make it stranger but I don't think that is needed at all. Reality is very strange in and of itself.

And I don't mind taking beautiful pictures. I know many are afraid of making beautiful photos but a beautiful image is not necessarily fake or wrong.

It's good to be interested in getting lost, in not having a plan. All people can be creative. You can tell something, imagine that you are someplace else, or that you are right here. You can make your own decisions. When I take photos or write poems it's not to publish a book or make an exhibition; I do it because I want to do it. I do it to do it. I believe that is important.

Caught In His Own Picture by Trine Ross


The cinematographers frame scenes, the directors frame scenes -- ordinary scenes, action scenes. I haven't consciously studied that, but it might affect what I'm doing.

[about making pictures on a movie set] It's what's available. You know. I'm not hugely a social person. I don't really go out {smiles}. So when I'm in a situation like that, where I'm working with people, they're available- if they don't run away.

Things Are Weird Enough Juxtapoz Magazine, April 1999


I have nothing against lighting and flash because even with those controls, things happen. I guess what I was referring to was that I don't like to stage the moment or the action too much. Actually, you are interfering by just taking a picture unless noone sees you. But I don't like to elaborately stage it. I do think that things are odd enough that you don't have to try too hard to make them intersting. You need only to pay attention. That's not to say that certain photographers who create very attificial environments in terms of setting, makeup, wardrobe and lighting are not making good images. My personal preference is taking what's there and using that as best as I can.

(...) I like the unobserved -- the passed over moments that others might not focus on -- It's the odd little things that aren't obvious. Little moments taken outo of context can have a different feeling.

A Living Diary: The Art of Viggo Mortensen by Jon B. Snyder


Mostly I use the Hasselblad I've had for about 20 years, although I sometimes use much older or much newer cameras, I still shoot film. I like the grain, the accidents resulting from hands-on decisions. I'll probably try a little more digital for some projects, but am not in a gurry for that. I don't know enough about digital to express a fitm preference. In any case I like different formats and film types for certain subjects and situations. I don't feel that there are any "wrong" equipment choices -- and I definetely believe there is an endless variety of light decisions that can be made. Recently I've prepared prints digitally for exhibition, but I have not done anything that couldn't be achieved in a darktoom. I can work faster and catalogue the work more easily with the computer. In the end, the photographer still has to go out, camera in hand and see what happens. I am not a fan of big tricks when making prints, I am fairly loyal to what's been seen and shot.

The special contests and unusual juxtapositions that make for an interesting photograph are almost alway close at hand and waiting to be noticed. One needs to develop a habit of "looking" nearly all the time for it to vecome automatic. It certainly helps to ve generally intersted in one's surroundnings in the first place.

Answer on fan questions in the LORT Magazine