Photo Essay: Interstellar Explorations of Iceland
The Nordic island's striking landscapes captured with a fresh perspective and Lomochrome Purple film, inspired by Richard Mosse's iconic infrared images of war in the Congo
Pentax K1000 and Pentax MX
35mm Lomochrome Purple
For years I had been captivated by the beautifully sparse landscapes of Iceland. I’d spend hours absorbing images of stunning waterfalls, fjords hugging the coast, massive glacial fingers reaching toward the sea and expansive lava fields completely void of foliage. These were things of dreams. It was almost as if the lonely Nordic island in the middle of the Atlantic was another planet altogether, completely alien and unobtainable.
That was, until one summer night when a close friend and I were sitting on his back porch catching up over beers after a few months apart. As always, we began discussing where we each hoped to travel to next. I began fantasizing about Iceland and before I had the opportunity to finish my thought he interrupted, “I’ve been tracking roundtrip tickets to Iceland for months—I’m buying one this week, you in?” And like that my dreams of photographing Iceland’s vast and desolate landscapes were no longer a fantasy.
At the time I had been shooting on film for a few years and it is safe to say that I am fully in love. The thrill of experimenting with different stocks, pushing, pulling, trying new exposure techniques, shooting through a roll and waiting to get the photos back weeks later, it was intoxicating. I had found a creative release that felt right and I was finally at a place where I felt comfortable with an old SLR in hand. With two full weeks to explore one of the most beautiful countries in the world, I began racking my brain for a way to capture Iceland in a way that felt special to me.
"It was as if the lonely Nordic island in the middle of the Atlantic was another planet altogether, completely alien and unobtainable."
In the months prior, I had also become infatuated with the work ofRichard Mosse, an Irish photographer who spent five years documenting war in African’s eastern Congo. He used Kodak Aerochrome, an obsolete infrared film stock originally developed for camouflage detection in wartime reconnaissance. Using a technology developed to improve war tactics, Mosse used the film to provide a completely new perspective on the atrocities being overlooked by the world at large. I spent hours poring over his photos and was enthralled by the intense imagery and dreamlike hues in his series Infra and accompanying film, “The Enclave.”
Largely inspired by the dreamlike landscapes captured by Mosse during his time in Congo, all photos in my series "Interstellar Exploration" were shot on Lomochrome Purple and remain exactly as they were when they came out of the camera. Although the effect is slightly different than that of true infrared film, Lomochrome Purple does an exceptional job turning the vast palette of greens and yellows in Iceland to otherworldly pinks and purples.