Iceland in Winter presents Iceland’s hauntingly beautiful landscapes through the eyes of dentist/photographer Mike Lyons. Lyons tells Fabric about the challenges – both physical and curatorial – he faced when capturing one of the world’s most photographed destinations.
I went to Iceland about 18 months ago in autumn and fell in love with the place. The ice caves can only be accessed during winter (they are too unstable at other times and are very weather dependant – the first half of this trip they were flooded) and I really wanted to see them. I chose to do an organised workshop, which allowed me to concentrate on my photography rather than icy roads or blizzards and winds that can blow cars off the road.
What challenges did you encounter on your journey?
Volcanic soil can get into everything, the wind can blow both you and your tripod over (on the first trip this happened and destroyed my main travel lens, so I had to be “creative” with the gear I had left. This time I took lots of backup equipment), water in the form of rain/waterfalls can be a problem, and of course in winter it can be quite cold, which kills batteries and can freeze tripod legs so they can’t be used.
You took more than 5000 shots. How did you whittle it down to just 14 for the exhibition?
I could have had an exhibition just of washed up icebergs, waterfalls or horses for that matter, but variation was the key for this exhibition. I tried to get a variety of subjects to show the diversity of the country.
How did you get into photography?
I have been taking photos since my high school days (I think the Great Lizards had just vanished from the planet, it was so long ago). It definitely appeals both to the artistic and methodical/structured process sides of me. It goes with the job – in dentistry it helps to be organised and precise, but at the same time I have been known to put six different colours into a filling to make it blend into the surrounding tooth.
Iceland in Winter is on show from June 29 – July 6 at the Vancouver Arts Centre in Albany.