Psychedelic Photography Off the Coast of West Africa
In-camera film experiments capture the volcanic landscape of Lanzarote, a Canary island and one of the most geologically new landmasses on Earth
Pentax Z-1P and Pentax SP500
October on Lanzarote, Canary islands. Two Pentax cameras, a sack full of fresh film, and solid sunshine for days. Bored to death of the eternally overcast 1984-type of alternate reality in the UK, where I have spent the previous months, I decide not to make a single realistic picture.
I live for in-camera effects and I'm determined to double expose everything. I love double exposure—it's as if two pieces of reality combine to form a final image that's equal parts real, unreal, and surreal. And that's exactly how I feel about Lanzarote, an island off the coast of West Africa largely formed by volcanic eruptions—the most recent in 1824, making it one of the youngest places on Earth.
"When the night falls, you can almost hear the stars."
Most of my days are spent roaming about the island, with many a memorable drive going west to east with the sun behind. The roads float around hundreds of these young volcanoes, with sparse vegetation in the form of lone palm trees, gigantic cacti, and alien-like lichen that serve as visual reference in the vast nothingness. Like Mars. When the night falls, you can almost hear the stars.
The rest of my time goes by in Famara, a 3km-long wind-wave-sand-dune paradise framed by a dramatic 16 million year-old red basalt cliff. It all makes sense there—the waves look like mountains and the mountains look like waves. I told someone that line once because it sounded poetic but it's also the truth.
It's one of those places you're longing to return to despite the fact that you're already there. Maybe because the endless desert road that leads to the beach is one beautiful wasteland, maybe because enough time there is never enough.