Iceland is so raw, geologically challenging and visually disconnecting that it’s not surprisingly home to some of the biggest box office titles. Whether it’s Star Wars, Justice League, Game of Thrones or The Fast & the Furious… they all set up production here in Iceland. And though I wouldn’t compare my style of photography anywhere near these blockbusters, an equation can be made. Motion pictures are nothing without emotion, just like still photography is nothing without emotion. It has to be contextually, have some kind of narrative and enduring beauty.
Mark Twain once said: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why”. With this image I knew why. I have had a prolonged idea in my mind. And when crafting it at more than 60 degrees north during one of Iceland’s heaviest storms since a long time it came to life. The idea was focused around serenity, exile, motion and raw power. The idea preceded me and was evolved over the last years, influenced by elemental rawness from TV series such as Game of Thrones.
Even though, Iceland is probably the most challenging location I have ever been. This image - The Fallen Ones - was made on a day with wind gusts up to 180 km/h, road blocks and an everlasting pouring rain. Tourist prolonged their overnight in the hotel and the roads were dead empty. But that’s the way I wanted it. The weather alert is called an “alert” for a reason; you want it to be as raw and dramatic as possible. There’s no point in coming here all the way and taking an average picture with glossy, postcard style skies.
If it was easy everyone would be doing it. I know how to use a camera. But that is not a transcending skill. In 2019, everyone’s a photographer. We’re the most content spoiled generation that has ever lived. And so, the pressure for someone who tries to stand out of the crowd is irreversibly higher than ever. It’s about dedication, perseverance and - ultimately - luck. And the harder I practice, the luckier I seem to get…
Everyone recognizes a horse. But recognizability without a surprise element leads to dullness. I wanted to have that doomed skies to tell the dramatic story about these tough horses. And make no mistake; these are wild horses and as bad ass as they come.
Jochen van Dijk