Reykjavik, Iceland

The lure of Iceland was for me very much influenced by it’s strong independent music scene. In particular, the work of Sigur Ros, a band that I’d always make the effort to see whenever they were in Sydney. Coming form Australia, Reykjavik ready did feel like the furthest place on earth. It was while on a work trip to Europe in 2014 that I came to visit the island as part of a photography project I’d been working on.

On arrival I set to work on my assignment which was to comprise of a series of editorial portraits and interviews. To my surprise, finding people to participate as subjects was relatively easy. I’d heard that Iceland had a strong arts culture. What I’d never imaged though was the generosity and support I’d encounter.

Speaking with the locals, one of the first things I’d picked up on was a sense of cultural isolation. While trips to New York and London were popular amongst the younger generation, people still seemed to retained a strong sense of independence. There was a candidness and an honesty about them that really struck me. As a portrait photographer, one of the key elements when working with people is trust. To have complete strangers open up to you in this way is without doubt one of the most rewarding aspects of my job. 

On the last day of my visit I decided to take a trip to The Blue Lagoon, a thermal volcanic spa in the south east of the island. It was one of the most beautiful and surreal places I’ve ever experienced. The air around the lagoon was thick with humidity. While not the most camera friendly environment, there was no way on earth I was going to leave without a few good pictures. Within minutes my Nikon was covered in a thick film of mineral salts. Wiping the condensation from my view finder though revealed a pool of pale aqua blue water set against a ridge of grey volcanic rock. I set about capturing people as they appeared and disappeared behind clouds of mist. It reminded me of some of the theatre sets I’d photographed in my earlier years at the opera. I could never have imagined back then that places like this really did exist.