Art Of Photographing An Almost Exclusively White Landscape
Harper's BAZAAR Singapore|December 2021
In Iceland’s snowy Troll Peninsula, Caroline Daniel learns the art of photographing an almost exclusively white landscape
Caroline Daniel

Making a descent into Iceland’s Akureyri Airport, some 65 degrees north of the Equator, in a blizzard of white is both unsettling and oddly calming, like landing on a cloud—a disembodied feeling interrupted only by the arrival of a Mercedes Sprinter truck with 46-inch monster tyres. Without this James Bond style vehicle to power through the five feet of dense snow that had fallen in the past week, there would have been no chance of reaching Deplar Farm, a two-hour drive away in the Troll Peninsula’s otherworldly Fljot Valley.

As we set off into the wilderness, there are glimpses of distant mountains, before the view is obscured completely by snowflakes. I think of lines from The White Road, a love letter to white porcelain by the author and ceramicist Edmund de Waal. “I’ve read Moby Dick… I think I know the dangers of an obsession with white, the pull towards something so pure, so total in its immersive possibility that you are transfigured, changed, feel you can start again,” he writes. “It feels white. By which I mean it is full of anticipation, of possibility.”

We have travelled to Deplar Farm for a six-day photography retreat curated by Alex Fenlon, the Creative Director of Eleven Experience, which owns and operates the lodge. Although initially apprehensive about the relentless snowfall blocking us in, we are soon reassured that even if we never venture out of the hotel, there is more than enough to occupy us here. During our welcome tour, we are shown around a spa offering morning yoga sessions, a geothermal pool with a swim-up bar serving a large collection of whiskies and a Viking-inspired fitness-room, complete with ancient axes mounted on the wall.

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