Svetlana and I worked together at a guesthouse. Our first real conversation was the day the owner left for vacation. Standing on opposite ends of the dimly lit hall, I leaned against a vacuum as she began to tell me her stories. She came to Iceland from Estonia to learn from the brewers she admires. "If you're really good at it, which I'm going to be, then you could be a gypsy brewer," she said.
Halldór picked me up while I was hitchhiking. Together we drove the Southern Route of Iceland for 5 hours. He is a captain of a cargo ship that travels to Norway as well as at Jökulsárlón. I was hitchhiking alone for the first time so in the spirit of trying something new he stopped at a beach he had never been too. When we reached Jökulsárlón he was worried about me finding another ride. He invited me to stay at the staff lodging for Glacier Lagoon. The staff taught me how to pronounce words in Icelandic that related to Jökulsárlón. The following morning they took me on a tour of the glaciers.
Adéla and the blueberries
When I met Dagrun she was in need of a friend. There is only one other student her age attending school with her. Among other things bothering her I imagine that alone could make you feel lonely. Dagrun’s name means secret of the day. I feel she trusts me to keep it that way.
I met Einar after we set up camp at Baldvinsskáli. His transportation initially caught my attention, as well as his dog Carter. He works as a mountain guide during his summer vacation. He use to drive people to locations along the F Roads, once realizing he could turn it into a job, he did so. He explained the different conditions he has come across while driving the Highlands. No matter what he said, every drive he spoke of he made sound like he was at home.
Andy in her bedroom
Heidi outside the Fish Factory
She is working towards creating an artist residency of her own on her family farm. She is also working towards obtaining a school bus to transform into a traveling residency. This residency would create pop up shows as it travels the states.
Picnic along the Fjord
Solveig on her day off.
Nick in front of his tent at Norðanpaunk
Nick is a noise performer and is often paying attention to the details of objects that come across his field of vision. He frequently stopped by Heima on his bike to drop off or pick up supplies. We once went dumpster diving at the local market. He stood in the dumpster looking at whatever he found to see what sound it would produce.
Maggie the morning I left Heima. Maggie is a poet and performance based artist. Her performances are layered with levels of complexity as she questions the variety of roles she plays in life.
For most of my time at Heima Jade was the only man living in our house of 9. He still managed to have the best dance moves of us all.
Maggie and Jade
Gas Station, Seyðisfjörður
Nanna is from Denmark but currently calls Seyðisfjörður home. I lived in the loft which was actually the hallway to Nanna's room. When she wasn't working on her art she was working at the local hostel or ferry. It was pouring rain the day I made this portrait. I had walked over to her ticket booth to bring her warmer clothes.
Cordula lives in Demark while she fixes up her home in Seyðisfjörður. Her house is called Breidablik which has three meanings, my favorite being the light connecting the sky and earth. She works as a carpenter, building most of what she brings to Breidablik in Denmark before transporting it back on the ferry.
When I took off to go backpacking I left gear with Dries. After my trip I made my way back to the campground to collect my belongings. I had around 2 1/2 hours until the one hour flight that would take me home, so Dries invited me to lunch. He had just moved to Iceland from Estonia. Within a week he had a job and place to live. His room wouldn’t be available until next month so he decided to live in the campground for the time being.
He shared stories of his travels and the way taking chances often led to the root of his happiness. At a certain point I asked him to help me run out the clock so I could try to get closer to the root of my happiness. He happily obliged as we watched the time get closer to my flight’s departure. When it was a minute past we celebrated to new adventures and I took off to hitchhike home alone for the first time.
I met Jón on the bus from Eglisstaðir to Seyðisfjörður. I asked him to help me understand the currency as we both withdrew cash for the transportation fee. He was headed to Seyðisfjörður to pick up a broken down car that belonged to his rental company. He drove me to Heima, when we pulled into the driveway he invited me to join him on his drive back to Reykjavík. “You can come with me, just know that the car might break down.” I ran into my new home, dropped off my luggage, and took off to drive the southern route of Iceland. When we parted ways he said, “Don’t let the first day of your trip be the highlight.”
The next time we saw one another was months later. He told me to get in his car. As I asked where we were going, he responded with, “Does it matter?”
I was sitting at my desk when I saw Birkir and Kristófer hanging off the back of the garbage truck. I ran after them and had a minute to make their portrait. Their boss kept driving so as soon as we were done they had to run after him to collect the next trash cans. "We start around 9 and finish the town around 11- 12."
Prior to my arrival, Jan and I had been in communication about traveling and hiking together. He was adamant on what kind of gear I needed to bring. When I showed up at the campground with the opposite, we dug through the recycled gear and found proper attire. Together we hiked Skógafoss to Thórsmörk which begins with 370 stairs. Once at the top we threw off our packs and did our first of many high fives.
Molly and her double pony tail.
Phillipe in the greenhouse of The Scent Bank. He distills different foraged items to create a portrait of the fjord through fragrance.
Helgi and Þórunn in their backyard. They rent out the downstairs portion of their house through AirBNB as they creatively renovate. Helgi was looking forward to Sunday as their last guest would be checking out for the end of their hosting season. He planned to play his records without worrying about disturbing their company.
Konrad after we met up for tea.
Valur in the fog
Valur and the flowers
Ewan was out at a bar celebrating the night before his graduation when his parents called him. They told him to stay where he was. When they arrived they informed him his older brother, Jamie, had just passed away. He didn’t say goodbye to anyone as he took off with his parents, “When I left, I left that part of my life behind.” Shortly after his mother was diagnosed with cancer so he stayed to help through her treatment. Inspired by the fearless qualities of Jamie he decided to begin traveling. “In some ways this had to happen in order for my life to become this way. I will always be the little brother.” He hasn’t stopped traveling since.
Sean in his McDonald's jacket
Jón and a small portion of his rock collection
Josh in front of the Slaughter House
Skonsa in the back of Beggi's car
Villi lives in Djúpivogur where he creates souvenirs out of local material only, as a way for people to connect to their environment. "Humanity is destroying itself by living in cities without connection to nature." During our two hour conversation Hurt by Johnny Cash poured through his speakers. "To discover ourself we have to do more things then just see them, we have to learn to go alone," he said as the song transitioned to Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley.
Heiða in her room at the staff lodging for Glacier Lagoon. She let me stay in her room when I was hitchhiking home. After this portrait she handed me a drink and took me outside to introduce me to the rest of the crew. Since they all live and work together they become more like a family. The majority of the crew returns every year to continue working at the Lagoon.
Daníel of Á gráu svæði
I met Stefán and Bjartur in Neskaupstaður when I saw them skateboarding outside of the gas station. “There aren’t many people who skateboard here, so we got into it to make things happen for ourselves,” they said. They both work on pushing their limit to land new tricks.
Beggi and Skonsa
Josh and the afternoon light
Hjalti and Ivar work for the Forestry services in Hallormsstaður National Forest, located near Eglisstaðir. Hjalti has worked there for one year and Ivar for six. Within Hallormsstaður there are 85 tree and shrub species from 600 places in the world. Gathered from places with similar climates such as Northern Scandinavia, British Columbia, Russia, and Alaska.
Sunna and Elgur (Moose)
Elgur is an offspring from the only stallion her Father has bred. Elgur had been to 3 different trainers but none of them succeeded. Her Father decided to give it a try, riding him in deep snow so it was less likely he could run away. “He was very closed off and afraid, but curious, and therefore I connected with him. I remember feeling like a hero, 16 years old riding this crazy horse that everyone gave up on. Although he is blind, I still ride him, he's my ''round up'' horse.” Their trust in one another allows Sunna to take Elgur anywhere. “I've fallen off him so many times, but he always stops and waits for me to get back on. He understands me, and I understand him so well. I can't really explain it better, it's just a feeling.”