There’s no getting away from it. I’m totally addicted to Iceland. Some days I practically live there in my head. I listen to Icelandic music - Bang Gang, Hafdis Huld, Emiliana Torrini, for example. And of course Sigur Ros, although I have to confess I don’t actually like them all that much. Late Talk Talk is far better if you like that sort of thing. Whenever I can I read books by Icelandic authors, old and new. I have over 7000 photos from Iceland, and I’ve been there more times than any other place (except maybe Italy and Estonia) in the last few years. And I’m always thinking about the next time.
A lot of people visit Iceland - apparently as many tourists go there each year as there are inhabitants, mostly in the summer months. And of course it is a magnet for photographers, although, frankly, unless you live there, you can’t really expect to do much original work. Most of the obvious stuff has been done time and time again. And photography is a big reason for me to go, but it isn’t essential, and is becoming less so.
The combination of a remarkable, evocative and romantic landscape, intelligent and resourceful people (although quite often a bit weird, let’s be honest), and a fascinating history all adds to the magic.
Perhaps the clear air, the wide open spaces, the sense of newness and discovery all help. I don’t know. I don’t really understand exactly why Iceland has got so deep under my skin. The only other place that came even close was Ireland, some time back, but not that close.
And maybe ... maybe it’s because it is so different from the stuffy, constricting claustrophobia of mainstream Europe.