Source unknown – Nicole Vaunt (2017)
Few places I have ever visited have gotten so thoroughly under my skin as Iceland. If my Seasonal Affective Disorder wasn’t already off-the-charts, I would have moved there by now.
What’s so great about it? If I told you it’s because it’s magical, there would be two distinct responses: those who will grin stupidly/nod knowingly & those will look askance/skeptical–the former have visited, the latter have not.
I could talk about the light. But the light in-and-of-itself is not entirely exceptional. If you’ve watched any of Bergman’s films–you’ll understand why he and Sven Nyquist strove to work with natural light whenever possible. (Arctic light in the summer is pretty much ripped out of a Romantic Period oil painting.)
The landscape might as well be off-world–the stunning vibrancy of color contrasted against the harsh landscape is something that stops you in your tracks at least a half dozen times each day.
It’s not all rainbows and kittens: most folks view Iceland as a sort of Viking inhabited glacier. (I started having dreams about the place during my middle teens and it was all snowbound and empty. I found out after about a decade of having the dreams that Iceland is green and Greenland is ice–in fact, viking languages were apparently uber literal because the capital of Reykjavik means nothing more or less than ‘smoky bay’ and Iceland in the native languague is really Island; it’s westerners that make it seem like a stronghold of winter.) The weather is hardly perfect. I’ve seen it rain sideways while it’s still blindingly sunny. (But as the saying goes: if you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes–as is that ever the fucking truth.)
What appeals to me about this image is the degree to which it–by decontextualizing both the relationship of the landscape to light and color, it demonstrates the degree to which the landscape has texture. (I think that’s something I’ve always felt on an instinctive level but it would’ve taken me several more trips to come to that realization on my own. And as far as I’m concerned that’s really the single credo you need when asking whether or not a photo or image is good: does it show me how to see something that I might otherwise have never discovered? If the answer is yes, then that’s already more than halfway there.)