Iceland … it’s hard to avoid it these days. According to various sources, such as Alda Sigmundsdóttir’s “The Iceland Weather Report”, over 27 Billion people are expected to visit Iceland next year, which is quite a lot. Of course 25.6 Billion of those will be Fine Art Landscape Photographers (or birders, which is much the same thing), and they will all publish AWESOME GREAT CAPTUREs of bits of ice trying to mind their own business melting away on a black sand beach, of Skogafoss and Gullfoss waterfalls, of a place puffins used to live, and some steam. And most of these will get published as publicity material for forthcoming, unique, book-now-before-it-sells-out, photo workshops (which will principally visit the aforementioned and now very stressed bits of ice).
Overexposure, anyone ? Iceland, and photography of Iceland especially, has become a commodity. Of course you don’t have to go to Iceland to photograph it. You could also go to Reykjavik to drink a lot. Iceland has options, you know.
I guess I’m lucky that I got in before the rush, although really it was the beginning of the rush. Not so long ago, even the “Golden Circle” was a bit of an adventure. Now (I imagine) it is a continuous loop of huge tourist coaches.
For me Iceland was never really about the honeypot locations. It was always much more to do with the unique atmosphere that permeates the whole island, the idea that pretty much everybody knows everybody else, the weirdness and yet familiarity of gas stations 200km from anywhere, the friendly and yet aloof, alien people. And all this wrapped up in a batshit-crazy landscape.
And yet when I looked at the photos I had published here in my galleries, there was a strong element of “look, I’ve been there too!” shots, of trying to play to the gallery rather than show photographs that I have a stronger connection to. And so, setting aside Venice for an evening or two, I had a retrospective trawl through the 6000-odd photos I’ve accumulated over the past 10 years, and I came up with a new selection.
The “Iceland Landscapes” and “Iceland - the human landscape” galleries are now offline, and a new one has taken their place. In a boldly imaginative move, I’ve titled it “Iceland”. Hope you like it.
And maybe when those 27 Billion people have got bored and moved on to somewhere else, like Belgium, for instance, and when Icelanders just get a little over themselves been so awesomely cool, maybe I’ll return.
Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, Venice.