Sugar Paper Theories by Jack Latham
Photographer Jack Latham’s new book, Sugar Paper Theories, explores the infamous and still tantalising
“Gudmundor and Geirfinnur” case, one of Iceland’s most perplexing criminal investigations.
The disappearance of two seemingly unconnected men over the course of ten months in 1974 led to widespread conjecture and fear across the then-young nation, and ultimately to a problematic police investigation that resulted in the confession of a group of six young people to the murders of the missing men. The case touched on issues as diverse as Iceland’s folkloric elves and 20th century fears of drugs and counterculture. The real issue, however, was that it turned out that none of those who confessed seemed to have any memory of the events in question.
Today the case seems a textbook example of police coercion, false confession, mass hysteria and scapegoating. Latham’s book beautifully touches on the case’s many aspects – capturing the island’s stunning beauty, the murky archival police evidence, the conspiracies that still swirl around the case and the key figures involved. Alongside the photographic aspects of the book is an account of the case written by Gisli Gudjonsson, a forensic psychologist involved in the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four cases, and an expert on false memory.