Michael Novotńy’s Photographs From The Middle Of Nowhere Show A Different Side Of Iceland2 min read

What is it about the landscape that you find so captivating?

I’ve traveled the world, been to the most exotic and strangest places imaginable, but Iceland is completely different. With all its volcanoes, glaciers, fjords, lava fields and so on, it’s like another planet. And once you get to know it better (and its inhabitants) you must love and admire it even more. There’s always more to explore and it never ceases to amaze me.

Iceland has become a mecca for landscape photographers, but because of that we often see the same visions of the island repeated over and over. How do you capture the place authentically and avoid stereotypes?

I wish I knew an answer to that. It’s probably just a different way of seeing things. I’m not really attracted to the overcrowded touristy places, where the magic is ruined for good. Sometimes I plan a trip, but then come to the place and see cars in the parking lot, so I just turn around and go elsewhere. The real magic lies in the unknown secret places, where you rarely meet anybody, and in the hearts of former Vikings.

Tourism has been booming in Iceland for nearly a decade: What are the negatives and positives you see from this?

Speaking economically it brings enormous wealth to such a small country—this last year, it’s been visited by six times more people than actually live here. But the boom is too fast and the hotels spring up here like mushrooms after rain. And I’m a little bit afraid that it could harm the country during the next recession (which is inevitable). Such a small economy has very high volatility and it’s not healthy to be dependent just on incomes from one source, tourism in this case. Once the tourism bubble bursts, it could mean a huge problem. I hope it’s only my pessimistic vision.

And as I mentioned before, the crowds ruin the former magic of some places, but not only that—they harm the environment by failing to stick to regulations of how to behave in nature.