Nordic Noir: December on the Faroe Islands

travelled to the Faroe Islands in December with the aim of
photographing the landscapes of the Nordic archipelago at their
most inhospitable. I did so partly to evoke the mythical theme of
this issue by capturing the solemnity of the islands, and partly to
visit at a time of year when there is little tourism.

Being a native Scot, one of my chief pleasures in life has
always been to set off for the vertiginous Scottish Highlands at
dawn, and I felt a familiar thrill of excitement as our aeroplane
cut through bruised clouds and descended towards the Faroes.

The following photographs document the week I spent hiking with
my friend Katie and our local guide Randi – up frozen mountains and
along wind-battered coastlines. Because the days were short (there
are just over five daylight hours in the depths of December) we
often drove in darkness as Randi recounted the ancient stories of
the islands. There was something rather haunting about those
moments, as we moved silently through the inky evenings and
listened to tales of the Irish monks who first inhabited the Faroes
in the late 5th century. It was difficult to imagine those men
settling in sheltered bays long before the Vikings even set foot

The Faroes have an ability to make one feel irrelevant in the
face of nature’s grander forces. The locals that we met had a deep
reverence for the sea and hills, many of them having lost family
members to cliff edges or underneath crashing waves.

I wanted to avoid the pattern in which I occasionally find
myself when covering a destination – that of reaching a landmark,
getting out of the car, photographing it and then moving on to the
next one. I felt determined to create as close a bond with the
Faroes as I could in the short time that I was there.

This series reflects my often emotional reactions to the scenes
I was capturing. As we crouched under the Kallur lighthouse on
Kalsoy, cowering from the North Atlantic gale that threatened to
pluck us from our perch, we found ourselves in a giddy state –
somewhere between laughter and tears.

Vol. 17

@robbiel1 |

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