Share This:

Viking Perspective

Share on Facebook Tweet about this on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Email to someone

5th Street East’s lead cinematographer Pétur Magnússon shares some Viking Perspective.

1st in a Series of Interviews to Celebrate 5th Street East’s 10th Birthday

Los Angeles – Pétur Magnússon describes the relationship between his native Iceland and cinematography as natural. As 5th Street East’s lead cinematographer, Magnússon draws inspiration from the small island country, just south of the Arctic Circle, and applies it to the art of capturing details, gestures and beauty in film.

He calls the magnitude of Icelandic nature “awe-inspiring” and is compelled by the sheer expanse of setting.

“The landscape in Iceland consists of broad open spaces. My approach to shooting is to embrace detail and negative space. How can I capture beautiful detail within a larger framework?”

Magnússon returned to Iceland this past summer after losing his dad, to connect with family and find his inner Viking. “I feel it completes me when I go there. It feels like coming home.”

Now Los Angeles-based, he spent the summer exploring, hiking, and shooting still photography, film, and drone especially, in the rugged Icelandic Highlands. He shot through every kind of weather condition, even a snowstorm that came out of nowhere and blew horizontally, where he gained some Viking perspective.

“To me being a Viking is embracing the spirit of adventure and discovery, personally and creatively. Being one with your environment. Finding solid ground in an ocean of chaos. Kind of like production.”

Iceland by Pétur Magnússon. Summer 2019.

Translating his appreciation for rugged beauty and ability to capture fine detail, Magnússon embraces “destination” when traveling around the country filming hospitality. “I have the privilege of shooting in incredible environments in my work with 5th Street East.”

Although he’s hard pressed to name one favorite, he notes that the highlights of filming hospitality, resort and destination are many.

“Being an islander, I’m always drawn to the water. A balcony overlooking Mobile Bay at The Grand Hotel in Alabama was an incredible way to wake-up. And the design of The Duniway Hotel was really fun, with its edgier vibe and specific aesthetic. It felt very Portland. Shooting Hotel Saranac in Saranac Lake, New York was like working in a Winter Wonderland.”

Magnússon is clear on what makes a hospitality brand so powerful, above and beyond the beautiful footage he shoots in extraordinary destinations: guest experience.

“Four Seasons is the gold standard for a reason. The level of hospitality they extend is incredible, even to our crew. They make you feel so valued down to every single interaction. It’s brilliant. We’ve shot two Four Seasons properties, Four Seasons Hotel Boston and Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, about seven times collectively, and every time we walk in, we feel like family.”

Follow Pétur Magnússon @kickerdixon and @5thstreeteast.

Iceland by Pétur Magnússon. Summer 2019.

Click Image below to Watch Out on Land, a film by Cinematographer Pétur Magnússon. This aerial chronicle of his return home to Iceland, Summer 2019, was shot in the Icelandic Highlands and along the north coast of the island.


5th Street East is a full-service production & creative agency for leading hospitality, development and lifestyle brands. Our agency produces compelling and vibrant content to showcase and elevate experience. Brand experience to live in hearts, minds, imagination, wishes and desires. Experience the world of 5th Street East.