O for Origin
In the Land of Fire & Ice
Iceland at first glance looks like earth at its origins: creation in its biblical sense.
The bleakness, the stark contrasts, the sombre colours, the volcanic rock that seems to have pushed its way up, only yesterday – All this makes one think where it is that we have come from, how it is that we have arrived here, and where it is that we wish to go. In sum, a visit to Iceland offers an opportunity for thought provoking existential questions.
As inspiration for art, the extraordinary nature of the terrain is close to a genuine land of Fire and Ice. Active volcanoes living side by side with icebergs, under the phosphorescent lights of the Aurora Borealis, create a powerful visual poetry like no other place I’ve visited. It is no wonder this extraordinary land is rich in folkloric myths, and traditions tracing their roots to Norsemen. Goddesses and mythical creatures roamed the land since the dawn of time. I met one in my sleep, dreaming of the ‘Hafmeyjan’ who lives on the rocks beside the dark, deep seas- attracting enraptured sailors with her siren songs, with them disappearing into the depths of the water in her arms.
According to the Gospels, God created Man, and Woman was fashioned from Adam’s rib. Not in Iceland.
The Icelandic culture is dominated by women, and the progressive nature of society and its politics are proof positive of that fact. And if there ever was a way to highlight the seminal importance of the role of Woman in creation, it can be seen in the bowels of the Icelandic landscape, the female curves perfectly marrying the green moss-covered volcanic outcrops dominating one’s vision, into murky, distant horizons.
This is the primordial brew, where humans and landscapes come together in jagged, unreal harmony. The photographer is left with little choice, variety and scale dictated by nature’s hand. If nothing else, our duty becomes the preservation of this quixotic wonderland for generations to behold.