Crisis? What Crisis?
This is a project in which my aim is to show that Iceland's nature and rural communities seem to be (almost) untouched by events affecting not only the country itself, but extending far beyond its borders. Since its start in 2008, the global financial crisis took a heavy toll on the country's banking sector. A second major event with profound consequences was the eruption of the volcano under the Eyjafjallojökull glacier in April 2010. This not only resulted in enormous floods and widespread evacuations; its ash cloud also effectively shut down the European airspace.
Following two previous visits to Iceland in February 2007 and May/June 2008, I decided to return in February/March 2011 in order to see what effect these events had on country's ancient landscape. I wanted to replicate the same photos I had previously taken by revisiting the same locations.
Far from wanting to offer a scientific analysis or factual reportage, this project merely intends to show that – even when everything around is severely shaken up and tossed on its head – ancient basalt stones and glaciers couldn't be bothered in the slightest by 'trivial' things such as financial crises or grounded airplanes!
[ Feb 2007 ] The remains of a shed – packed with buoys – along the coast of the Snæfellsnes peninsula. [ Feb 2011 ] Both the buoys and shed are still there.
[ Feb 2007 ] The strong wind uses black grains of sand to make ingenious patterns on the lava beach near Vík.
[ Feb 2011 ] The wind has calmed down and leaves a smoother pattern in the lava sand.
[ Feb 2007 ] Pegs on a clothes line at the Bölti guesthouse, a former farm on a hill overlooking the vast Skeidarársandur sand plain.
[ Mar 2011 ] Bölti is still up and running. Despite the financial crisis, tourism flourished after the credit crunch. Bölti has even replaced some of its clothes lines. Luckily, the solitary blue peg was still there...
[ Feb 2007 ] The silhouettes of the Reynisdrangar basalt rocks, on Iceland's southern coast near the town of Vík, are still visible despite all the black sand that’s blown through the stormy sky. (An old legend says that the stacks originated when two trolls dragged a three-masted ship to land unsuccessfully. When daylight broke, they turned into needles of rock.)
[ Feb 2011 ] The Reynisdrangar basalt rocks – still standing, unbothered by any earthquake.
[ Feb 2007 ] Decaying sheds at the foot of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano on the southern coast.
[ Feb 2011 ] The sheds didn’t survive and were probably crushed under the thick layer of ash that covered the area after Eyjafjallajökull's eruption in 2010.
[ Feb 2007 ] The top of the Snæfellsjökull – the glacier famous for its role in Jules Vernes Journey to the Centre of the Earth – reveals its peak early in the morning.
[ Feb 2011 ] It's there somewhere... This time, clouds cover the majestic Snæfellsjökull peak.
[ Jun 2008 ] Intriguing volcanic basalt rock formations on the beach at Hellnar, on the southern coast of the Snæfellsnes peninsula.
[ Feb 2011 ] What’s a few years within a lifespan of thousands of years of rock formation? These basalt rocks seemed pretty much untouched, apart from the surrounding pebbles that are constantly moved by the waves.
[ Jun 2008 ] A stream of volcanic ash runs through the Skaftafellsjökull glacier, part of the immense Vatnajökull National Park, home of Europe’s largest glacier.
[ Mar 2011 ] Different weather conditions, same glacier. The ash still finds its way through the ice, but for how long? These glaciers are slowly retreating as a result of global warming...