Inside this issue
Theo Bosboom – Back to Iceland
A Book Review
Amateur Photographer who plays with big cameras and film when in between digital photographs.
Theo’s book Iceland Pure sits alongside my copy of the Haaberg’s Iceland in All its Splendour (see Orsolya Haarberg Featured Photographer interview) and Hans Strand’s Iceland: Above and Below as my reference sources for images of Iceland’s sublime beauty. But Iceland has obviously changed over the years since these were originally published. The success story of a bankrupt nation transforming into a wonderfully successful economy includes a remarkable increase in tourism (which generated 10% of GDP and provides nearly 20% of Iceland’s jobs). Any increase in footfall always comes with some negative consequences. Although the land hasn’t suffered dramatically, the experience of visiting the places that were once isolated and wild has certainly changed.
Theo’s new book partly reflects this, (as discussed in his article in this issue), along with his personal relationship with the island. We see the balance of images shifting as well, with fewer wide views of iconic locations and more vignettes and details, a change in approach that reflects how Theo’s photography has been changing over the intervening years as well.
Along with this has been an eye for a project or an idea that lives beyond a single image. We don’t see overt project work in this book, it is still nearly all individual photographs apart from a small section on tourists, but we do some echoing of visual ideas reflected throughout the book. An off kilter sensitivity that finds as much interest in a distribution of coloured hay bales as a graphic flow of lava; a double page spread barcode of sand and water textures, a child's swing and snow bound car alongside beautiful details of waterfalls, stunted birches, bilberry and bearberry.
The book itself is very well produced, a hardback cover illustrated with graphic textures of that 2021 volcanic eruption, graphic flows of lava and glowing basalt textures. 170 pages of content on a nice thick 170gsm paper. A special mention should be made of Sandra Bartocha, who not only designed the book but helped with the sequencing and choice of images.
Theo’s book just goes to show that we shouldn’t dismiss a location just because we’ve seen so many photographs of it. A thoughtful eye and a passion for the landscape will always find new ways of seeing, and this book is a testament to that.
I would recommend that you buy the book directly from Theo’s website because, as we’ve found out that publishing the Natural Landscape Awards book, the margins for commercial distribution are so low that one book bought directly probably returns the equivalent of three books bought via large retailers.