Over one tenth of Iceland's territory is covered by glaciers.
Glaciers are not static structures, but rather move very slowly, advance during a period of climatic cooling, and as seen during the past decades, recede in response to global warming.
Glaciers are genuinely white, but turn greyish in some areas due to ash deposits from volcanic eruptions.
Pressure from the weight of Glaciers can lead to soil, sand and rocks shifting, cracks and meltwater can lead to the creation of glacial lagoons with floating icebergs. Jökulsárlón, the most specular glacial lagoon of Iceland, is located at the foot of the Vatnajökull glacier, on the south-east side of the island. This 2500-year-old glacier has experienced continuous expansion. Recently this trend is reversing. The volcanic activity and the reality of global warming are inducing shrinkage. Vatnajökull – the second largest glacier in Europe – is likely to disappear completely within 100 years.
A number of ice caves have formed at the edges of this glacier. The structure of those temporary ice bodies – like most white objects – diffuse the full spectrum of light minus a few wavelengths, and thereby reveals various shades of blue due to its high oxygen content.
It is within Fjallsárlón and Jökulsárlón that this photo series "Beyond visible opacity" was shot:
Beyond visible opacity
In photography, scale is subject to interpretation: it is a perception of a proportional ratio, of a comparison to ourselves. In macro-photography, the subject is very close and with such a focus there is no escape: in revealing itself, the subject creates a certain intimacy with the observer.
In Iceland, the confrontation with the vastness of ice, icebergs, lagoons, ice caves and glaciers is unavoidable and so is the call to immerse oneself in this matter.
It is a common choice to use a wide-angle lens to picture these landscapes. However, using the same lens for macro-photography is far less common. I chose to capture both the complete picture and the infinite depths of this ambiguous matter.
The landscapes I have shot are only fragments of the whole reality and are dedicated to contemplation. White, light blue, blue, dark blue, black: ice colours overlap, combine, and even merge in intense blue. These subtle gradients of colours and patterns are naturally shaped by the melting and winds. Between light and shadow, transparency and opacity, its beauty is exposed and invites the observer to lose oneself within it.
Ice, like glass, is a fragile material with an intrinsic visual power. Its transparency is a fascinating property which forces the observer to occupy an exposed and dematerialized world.
It is very same transparency which reminds us of its precarious nature, its vulnerability and the effect of accelerated global warming: the transparency of ice speaks of its impending disappearance.