on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Thomas Fleckenstein

Featured Photographer

Thomas Fleckenstein



Michéla Griffith

In 2012 I paused by my local river and everything changed. I’ve moved away from what many expect photographs to be: my images deconstruct the literal and reimagine the subjective, reflecting the curiosity that water has inspired in my practice. Water has been my conduit: it has sharpened my vision, given me permission to experiment and continues to introduce me to new ways of seeing.


“Everyone’s gone to Iceland” as the ad for a certain UK store says, and if they haven’t yet, they probably want to. It’s hard to think of another country that has captured the collective imagination over the past decade in quite the same way.

I’ve read that Iceland did have good tree cover (estimated at 25-40% prior to settlement in the Iron Age) and also that as much as 40% of the land is considered as (wet) desert as a result of volcanic depositions and soil loss. It’s interesting that we are all so enamoured of a landscape that is much altered from what would have been its natural state. Perhaps more broadly we delude ourselves that we are looking for, and at, natural landscapes when much of the appeal may simply be due to the fact that they are so different from the ones that we are used to.

Thomas has lived in Iceland for just over 20 years now and is perfectly placed to share some insights into his adopted home, as well as talk about his own photographic evolution away from the kind of images that we typically see of his adopted homeland.

What first brought you to Iceland and how long have you been living there now? How has life changed during that period?

In February 1993 I met my Icelandic wife during a snowstorm in Akureyri. Akureyri is the second largest city in Iceland and located on the north coast, close to the Arctic Circle. I was at that time making a roundtrip around Iceland, starting in the Westfjords and travelling via plane and bus around the country. I bet I was the only tourist at that time. During the connection flight from Egilsstadir (east) to Höfn (south), after entering the small aeroplane, I was asked to close the door to the two seat aeroplane – the pilot and me. This was my second visit to the country. I had been there on a holiday 1991 and loved the summer time but I wanted to experience winter as well, with its ice, the darkness and the very much wanted northern lights. After writing love letters back and forth from Germany to Iceland we decided to move in/ live together so my wife packed her bag and moved to Germany. 

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