The Factory 2016
The Old Herring Factory, Djupavik, Iceland (June 2016)
When planning our road trip around Iceland, we highlighted Djupavik on the itinerary, one because of its remote location and interesting history, and two because of the annual photography exhibition. I’m so glad we did, it was a fascinating and bizarre kind of place in a stunning isolated location near the head of a fjord.
“The Factory” is an exhibition where photographers from all corners of the world, if selected, get to showcase their work. The location and surroundings of this ‘gallery’ are unique. The photographs are displayed in the old abandoned and dilapidated herring factory, surrounded by rusty old machinery and assorted mechanical objects.
The work that particularly caught my eye was that of photographer Etienne Ketelslegers. He is Belgian, a radiologist and a passionate photographer. He first visited in Iceland in 2010 and like me, was enchanted by the landscape and the forms, colours and materials on the island. His series reminded me of the John Maher exhibition I visited back in May “Nobody’s Home”. Many of the houses in Ketelslegers’ series of photographs are also abandoned.
“The purpose of this series is to highlight the aesthetic potential, sometimes unintended and often unrecognized.”, Ketelslegers points out. These properties are dotted about the Icelandic landscape and there is a mystery surrounding each of them, they represent evidence of human life, but where are they now and why did they leave? Unlike Maher, this photographer has chosen not to show the interiors of the buildings, maybe access was forbidden or boarded up. For me this series is more about position in the landscape, how the buildings blend in or stand out.
Here are a couple of shots I took earlier on our trip.
Left: Most definitely abandoned, I did have a poke around but the two entrances were well and truly sealed, mostly with rust. The colours are of nature and compliment the landscape and although it is in a sorry state it does have a romantic appeal for me, particularly the fjord side setting. Quite possibly a fisherman’s cottage/shelter.
Right: Here I show old and new and there is evidence of human existence (washing on the line), although there was no sign of life when we walked by.
I intend to work on a personal project with the images I have from our visit to Iceland, focusing on the prominence of colours on the island.