The Icelandic twins Erna and Hrefna are like Yin & Yang


For photographer Ariko Inaoka the Icelandic twins Erna and Hrefna are like ‘Yin & Yang, like the light and the shade, like birth and death, like man and woman, like the sun and moon, like the beginning and the end…’. They are 16 years old identical twins and live in Reykjavik. ‘I met them when they were 6 years old through a friend,’ Ariko Inaoka told P3 when interviewed. ‘When they were 8 I made an 8mm short film. I only began photographing them for this project when they were nine’. Ariko has visited them every summer since. This year, she revealed, will be her last visit and this will mark the end of the project which she aims to exhibit and make into a photobook in the future. ‘I tried to photograph other twins when I started the project, but I only felt a significant bond with Erna and Hrefna. They are harmonious when together and mutually respect and love each other. Whilst, at the same time, they are very different from one another. They are modest, confident and mature. They take ballet very seriously and are excellent ballerinas. It has been incredible to document their lives’. The photographer wanted to capture and share this beautiful bond which exists between the two sisters and observe the changes in their relationship as twins but what really motivated her was the mystery of the transition from infancy to adolescence. ‘Even though I have lived through these ages, I don’t recall what I felt or thought during that period. However, it is a very influential period as is made me the person I am today,’ she said. Ariko only has the summer to dedicate to herself to photography as she manages the family bakery which has been in the family since 1465. Ana Marques Maia.