Iceland Travel Diary by Freya Esders October 12 2015

Freya Esder Iceland Travel Diary on SUKU BlogThis week's SUKU travel diary comes to us from our girl Freya Esders, filmmaker, photographer and magic maker. Her work strives to be subtly moving and visually engaging. These desolated Icelandic landscapes certainly evoke that feeling. Thank you for sharing a beautiful glimpse of your journey.

Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon

Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon was the visual apex of my journey through Iceland's many tonal worlds. After driving for hours through fields of volcanic ash and lava, bulging and undulating just beyond the roadside, we turned down a modestly signed path in search of the icebergs suggested on the map. A picnic table perched in the endlessness set the surreality in stone. As we ambled slowly in our black van, the mist dense and low, a spiked translucent shape became evident in the distance. My breath quickly taken from me, I leapt from the vans sliding door before it had even had the chance to come to a stop. People surged toward the shoreline, armed with a great myriad of camera's, all silenced by the beauty. The mist that day, at first thought to be a hindrance to the itinerary, proved to be the ideal accompaniment. It joined the skyline so seamlessly, as though to provide the icebergs a stage to shine, to be truly resplendent in all their jagged glory. All my aesthetic needs met I let the shutter momentarily freeze time, yet when I look at these I still yearn to have had the capacity to truly capture the atmosphere. As I took the first of only a few images there, a seal appeared, a small black drag through the light blue forever.  


Visiting the turf houses is an absolute must despite its touristy feel, the charm is bewildering and I'm certain the word quaint was originated to describe these old homes. After many days sweeping through the fjords we came to stop at Skagafjörður turf house's which have been restored for public viewing. There is something to be said for the 'small world' feel of many of Iceland's homes and structures. The weather this day clear and crisp, nordic air at its finest with the kind of light you can only get at the top of the world. Being here with my grandparents seemed to only amplify its charm, I felt humbled and so visually stirred to think of Icelandics only a few hundred years ago living through a dark and harsh winter in these grass roofed little shacks. Theres a comical element to them, a 'cuteness' that is very Icelandic in its nature. I have a rather potent obsession with reading epitaphs in graveyards, the church just by the turf houses had one of the most beautiful vistas Ive ever seen, fjord in the background, a low nordic cloud dancing just below. I made a note to for my ashes to be left here. A Freyja layed burried, a sign.

Grindavík on the Reykjanes Peninsula
Grindavík on the Reykjanes Peninsula

A very telling moment in any Iceland journey, the moment you lay eyes on the blue lagoon and its surrounds. Although the blue lagoon is man made, the area surround it is rugged and striking, relatively new earth formed by Volcanic activity. Living in the south for two months, I found myself often around the Reykjanes area's, hunting for location to shoot images/ film for my show. These moment where captured on a chillingly cold day, with my Icelandic muse Soley, the sulphuric ponds kept her from freezing to death. The warmth that emulates is astounding. Steam billows and flows in the distance, a common sight in the Icelandic landscape. This day and this area solidified an aesthetic I knew I went there for. It was affirming and as always stirring and beautiful in an isolated, other worldly way, something I always look for and will return to Iceland to immerse myself in again.

Words and Photos by Freya Esders