A Southbank Centre Exclusive for the Nordic Matters Festival.
The photographs in this book were taken over the course of several years travelling through Iceland during the winter months. The majority of these works were shot in the far north of the country in secluded areas. The daylight hours in the winter are brief but have protracted periods of twilight that illuminate the landscape with an air of mystery and reverence. The landscape is vast, raw and diverse with mountains, fjords, majestic waterfalls, glaciers and volcanic fissures. Largely uninhabited, the north of Iceland can often appear untouched by human hand; a small church, hut or an abandoned car are sometimes the only signs of civilisation in this far flung, pristine terrain. Streams and glacial rivers permeate the north; starting out as trickles they find their way down the steep mountains, peeking through snow drifts, meandering, disappearing and reappearing in no coherent fashion. In the course of their downward flow, they begin to interconnect, colliding and interweaving, growing in size and character, creating remarkable and countless formations. Often abstracted, the photographs of streams and glacial rivers are a reminder of the forces of nature at play; a sublime beauty far removed from the everyday. Drifting into frame, the dreamlike palette of these landscapes offers a window into an ephemeral world where scale and perspective become impalpable.
Jonathan Smith is a British photographer currently living in New York. He has been engaged in photographing natural landscapes for over 10 years. Using a large format film camera, he photographs precisely and selectively, often revisiting a site on numerous occasions until the essential character of the landscape is revealed. This conscious and gradual process of photographing results in work that is a meditation of land, water and air.
25 x 21 cm