on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Symphony of Water

Murray Livingston

Murray Livingston

I am a South African student of architecture with a passion for black and white landscape photography. I currently live in Scotland, where I photograph locally, but also travel for photography frequently.


The Icelandic south and east coast are varied, stunning, and formidable in its natural formation. I cannot say whether this mini portfolio gives a true image of Iceland, but it is my contention that Iceland can only be witnessed. It is an island that is full of natural events which awaken you from an unconsciousness to the huge forces at play under our very feet. Iceland experiences the full symphony of such events: glacial, tectonic, biologic, geologic, cosmic. These events manifest themselves most evidently in water all over the island. It flows seasonally through a multitude of forms: ice, snow, rain, river, glacier, steam, ocean. Its impact on the landscape is clear, as is its necessity to sustaining human life.

Iceland was the last major island to be inhabited in about 900AD, leaving the landscape mostly unscathed from human intervention. My experience of Iceland was, therefore, a real connection to the elements. These four images demonstrate the juxtaposition of the landscape: the scale and force with which these natural events occur, carving and shaping the landscape; versus the fragile cyclic symbiosis of the Icelandic environment. I do, however, find Iceland at such odds with itself - it places a high economic importance on tourism, ironically thereby endangering the very nature which people travel to see. I think these images tell the story of just how important it is to preserve such a beautiful, yet fragile, natural environment.

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