Iceland – Urban Outfitters: Journal and photos

Here’s a little more writing about the Iceland Urban Outfitters shoot. Along with some of my own photos I took while I was out there. A mix of 35mm Film and iPhone 5s photography.

Camera: Nikon FG | Film: Ilford HP5 Plus
Iceland | Camera: Nikon FG | Film: Ilford HP5 Plus

The moment I set foot outside the airport the air felt clean and fresh. We all boarded the long wheel based brown splitter we would be travelling in over the next 3 days. We set off driving and were warned that it was about 2 hours away but the scenery was so amazing it didn’t feel like 2 hours. We drove through fields of lava, then onto pastures, then mountains with giant waterfalls cascading over the sides. It was like nothing I had ever seen before!

We arrived at the hotel/apartments we would be staying at over the next 2 nights. We had a small meeting with the team over a beer and some dinner before drifting into natural conversation. The catering team were Iceland locals and were very informative telling me all about our surrounding area. Pointing into the distance I was shown the huge volcano that erupted in 2010. We all had an early morning and a hard day of work ahead so we went to bed and rested for tomorrow’s first day of shooting.

The first day was an amazing day. We set off in the morning early, I’d had my hair cut the previous evening so we could get away earlier. We arrived about an hour down the road at a small town called Vík it was a lovely little sea side village. I wasn’t needed for this first shot so I had a relativly relaxed time as May and Ruth two of the models I was shooting with posed in a local cafe. You’ll probably find that I actually spent most of my time when not shooting in the catering truck, which was an old 1960s Scania Truck refitted with clothes rails, and mirrors for hair and make-up. After we’d got the photo we all piled into the brown transit and headed up into the mountains followed slowly by the vintage Scania! As we went up the mountains we stopped several times to take photos. The first shot I was in was against a lunar landscape. I believe Iceland is famous for these moon-like sites. They were really eerie.

Camera: Nikon FG | Film: Ilford HP5 Plus
Self Portait against Lunar Landscape | Camera: Nikon FG | Film: Ilford HP5 Plus

We moved further up the mountains and shot on mossy banks, and the edges of huge cliffs! It was a fantastic day and I’ll never forget some of the amazing sights I saw on that day!

The second day was as spectacular as the first. We started the day heading to huge waterfall Skógafoss where I shot the Collection No.7 cover. The waterfall was unbelievable in size and the power of the water crashing down could be felt from about 50 meters away! Little did I know we would be moving onto an equally spectacular waterfall round the corner. We could walk round behind the waterfall and watch as the torrents of water flew over our heads. I must say everyone got drenched, especially fellow model Oliver who was given the task of delving into the pool at the bottom of the falls! Not too far away from the falls there were a couple of old abandoned cottages. Upon gazing though the windows it was like looking into a ghost’s house. Cigarettes and ornaments still laid out on the tables, I’d never seen anything like this. It would make a fantastic scene in a film!

Behind the waterfall |Camera: Nikon FG | Film: Ilford HP5 Plus
Behind the waterfall |Camera: Nikon FG | Film: Ilford HP5 Plus

Our final location of the day was back over near Vík. We moved to the sea and shot on the famous black beaches of Iceland. The beaches are black because the sand isn’t in fact sand, it’s volcanic ash. For the photographs we took in this location the styling was very grey. The black sand against the grey and dark clothes gave a really nice effect. We shot inside an overhanging cove that’s natural architecture was amazing!

Camera: iPhone 5s
Camera: iPhone 5s | No edit

As we moved down the beach we were riding in one of the accompanying jeeps. This one was a modded Land Rover with a widened frame and huge monster truck-esque tires! We blasted it down the beach at 50mph over the black sands! It was the kind of experience that you’ll never do again. After we’d finished shooting that day we had a long drive to the capital of Reykjavik. When we arrived we checked into a lovely harbour-side hotel and had a good nights rest, preparing for the final day of shooting.

The final day of shooting was equally as amazing as the two previous. We started by leaving the hotel at about 9am. We took the convoy further inland to a huge lake. I’ve never seen a lake as big in my life. The water crystal clear and the setting serene. The team had been in touch with a local man who owned a house by the lake, and we used his house as a base, also shooting a shot up against it. When I popped my head inside the house it was like taking a step back in time so some 1950s house… With the most amazing view through the window.

Camera: iPhone 5s
The Amazing Living Room | Camera: iPhone 5s | No edit

I could have happily moved into this house, it was that unusual and peaceful. The last place of call, and the final destination of shooting was the hot springs. This location was by far the scariest. The mood in the air was weird and the smell was sulfurous. Smoke raised from cracks in the ground and wells of boiling, bubbling mud were dotted across the landscape. A geothermal power station was the background to the spooky scene. It reminded me of Dungeness but less ordinary. I have and probably will never go on a similar trip in my life.

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