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The Inexplicable and Undeniable Charm of Iceland


This photographic project captures accurately Iceland’s unfathomable charm.

In our world, the role played by Iceland is huge. It is the island that survived the conquest and cultural homogenisation. It is the circumstance, climate, geography, politics and population consciousness which has ensured its virginal, musical and lucid aspect to the degree that it has positioned itself as a Utopia for visionaries. It is, in addition, the most represented country in arts and therefore a living inspiration for those who seek to sublimate a part of themselves.

During its darkest and most isolated season, when the sun does not grace the day with its presence for more than five hours at a time, the Polish photographer Tom Kondrat travelled there to capture a series of portraits of people’s lives, armed with two Pentacon Six cameras he inherited from his father. He was surprised —somewhat naïvely—when this wasn’t possible.

The idea was to document the life of people during the darkest and coldest time of the year between 26th of November and 16th of January. But of course most of the people spent their time at homes watching TV or surfing the Internet, so there was only one idiot freezing in his car.

Riding his car half-way through the country, Kondrat ended up taking pictures of the landscape; the ubiquitous character of every narrative. The mountains, moorlands and the solitary buildings became the subjects of his pictures. Beyond the fact that we have seen millions of photographs of Iceland —and that these are never too many—, the Polish photographer was able to evoke some of the air, some of the tenderness that emanates from the electric lights covered in falling snow, a piece of the desolate persuasiveness of winter.

In that precise culminating moment of the Icelandic winter, the turbid vapour of the air is the first plane of the images and we can hardly discern what lies behind the slumberous living veil. What we can see is perhaps the ghost that watches over our experience, and that is itself the experience. His series Iceland <5.5h is yet another piece which adds to the charm of this beautiful island.









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