The IKEA VILSHULT photo from Amsterdam has been sold over 500,000 times and yet only a few people know the story behind it. No wonder, when we go shopping at IKEA we expect modern, but also high-quality and above all inexpensive furnishings. So it's not surprising that the stories behind the IKEA designs are not very well known. Too bad, because behind the VILSHULT photo sold by IKEA is a story of death and sadness.
According to the online platform PetaPixel, the IKEA VILSHULT photo was taken by Argentine photographer Fernando Bengoechea, who, according to his brother Marcelo, was one of the greatest photographers in New York City during his career. For example, Bengoechea worked for magazines like Vogue or Architectural Digest and brands like Tommy Hilfiger before he died in the Sumatra Andaman quake in 2004.
YouTube documentary tells the story behind the IKEA VILSHULT photo from Amsterdam
According to the research, Fernando Bengoecha and his partner Nate Berkus were on holiday on the Thai coast at the time, before an earthquake in the Indian Ocean triggered the death wave. As one of the few survivors, Berkus was invited to TV shows such as Oprah Winfrey's, where he told the story behind the IKEA VILSHULT photo from Amsterdam. According to the story, the lonely red bicycle in the picture is actually an apology to Bengoecha's ex-boyfriend Ahmad Sardar Afkami, with whom he had quarreled in 1999.
In the end, however, the VILSHULT-story has no happy ending. IKEA chose the photo only because of the low license price and included it in its own assortment - and not because of its history. The 14-minute documentary on YouTube tells the story behind the 49.99 dollar photo. Have fun watching!