In this series, A Study of Summer, I spent two weeks in southern Iceland, visiting three locations, Reykjavik, Fludir, and Hveragerði, in an exploration of the ways that Icelanders celebrate the endless days of summer. I found people taking full advantage of the almost 24-hours of daylight as well as the geothermal heat that powers most of Iceland and offers a unique aquatic experience. Geothermal pools are a part of daily life in Iceland, both in small towns and in the capital, Reykjavik. They are a staple of personal health and community life. I discovered a special zeal in these people, soaking in the summer to its full capacity, in a way that seems, to me, to be unique to a place that spends the winter in almost complete darkness.
Iceland continues to bounce back from a difficult recession. Tourism has been one of the ways the country has begun to recover. According to the Iceland Tourist Board, travel to the country is up 52% by North Americans this year. In a globalized world, very few places feel remote and unique. Iceland is one of them. Because of its latitude, the country experiences endless sun in summer, and almost complete darkness in winter. Its has an extremely small population (just under 320,000), geothermal energy, and a vast, moon-like landscape, all of which contribute to visitors feeling like they have really stumbled upon uncharted territory.
The newness of the Icelandic environment unlocked my habitual vision. In this series, I concentrated on people, objects, and landscapes that drew my attention, focusing more on color, posture, expression, and composition than a linear story. I wanted to provide an fresh experience rather than a prescriptive a story. The people and the landscape of Iceland offered me a wonderful, restorative gift. I was able to return to my senses and give reason a rest. This series sits, for me, somewhere between documentary and art, with equal parts chance and control. I created the work acknowledging the impossibility of objectivity in photos, but with respect for life and the happy accidents that it unfurls.