Tag Archives: Photography

Everyone Can be a Faded Polaroid at the Harpa and Dance with Yoko Ono Now

There is beautiful light in Iceland…

.

… and I mean really beautiful light …

… but tourism survives on images, so the great opera hall, the Harpa, allows anyone to view others as if they are in a faded Polaroid shot from the 1970s …

… or an Agfa shot from the 1960s.

This retro thing, this notion of quoting the landscape in the very moment one observes it, is something the Icelanders learned in graduate school in New York, London and Berlin. It’s charming, but remember …

… every wave that goes to sea in Skagafjörður leaves behind a space for beautiful light. It’s like the sun is right there, you know.

Hólar in the Spring

It is.

April Light on the Lagarfljót

Ice contains wisdom, of the year behind and the opening wisdom of the year to come. You can see it in the perennial sunrise and sunset colours of winter, but. April brings brighter tones, while snow storms still take the rest of the world away. It’s breathtaking. Bring your camera. Go East in April.

Leave the crowded south and its tourbusses. The great secret of Iceland is that it’s everywhere on the whole island. You don’t have to go to the crowded places. You will find there a sense of honouring and ritual. Out in the simple places, where no one else goes, you will find your self.

A Grove of Horses in Iceland

It was all forest once, in the whole country, at least by the water. Even here in Hvalfjörður, it was trees. But the trees were cleared to make pastures and to keep the Icelanders warm, and then there were no trees, and so it remains in most of the country. Because of this history…,


… horses are now trees. Stick a pale of hay in the middle of a forest clearcut 1000 years ago, and there you have it, a grove. As I’ve said. before, in this country everyone is an artist.

Photography Out of Bounds

The National Geographic will tell you that Iceland looks like this. Kirkjufoss, they call it.

National Geographic

You will be astonished how much trespassing you have to do to get a shot from that angle. In truth, though, Iceland looks like this:

We call that moss. Those little silver plants there? That’s a forest. Please, stay on the trail. Beauty becomes photography, taken from awkward angles, with weird blurring things going on, if you don’t.

Seeing in the Dark

One of the great pleasures of Iceland is to walk up a remote canyon, followed by ravens hoping you will slip and break a leg, and to know that they are your thoughts.

These thoughts.

It’s a northern thing. Of course, a country where a bell rope can serve as an improvised noose is a fine place to wander, too.

Darkness is everywhere, but it’s not black. It’s red or something, like blood.

The eye touches the earth as a bodily organ, as much as it does as the hand of the mind.

The mind is as much a heart as it is a muscle. It swims in blood.

Humans can’t see darkness, I read all the time. In Iceland, this illusion just doesn’t wash.

Maybe you can’t see it, but you can touch it, and enter through it the world behind the world.

And what is there?

Why, you are.

This doesn’t work in Reykjavik.

There, under the effect of the outside world, this sense of presence is called art.

One can live there, too. Between worlds.

Trying to catch the attention of passersby. Don’t worry. The world still sees you.

And you still see past it.

The old paths still wait.