Story of the Photo


The following is a short story about photographing Kirkjufell in Iceland during the autumn of 2016.

Kirkjufell means “church mountain” in Icelandic, which is fitting, as Iceland’s most iconic peak reaches up to the heavens. While photographing here, I envisioned Kirkjufell as a pillar of Asgard, holding up the home of the gods of ancient Norse mythology.

The Norse religion is full of ideas that are beautiful, sometimes hauntingly so. Nine Worlds inhabit the Norse cosmos, all flanking a central cosmological tree. And these worlds will be reborn after Ragnarök, when the gods and their enemies collide in a climactic battle for the fate of the universe. During this conflict, the world will be enveloped in flames, only to be reborn anew.

Standing in front of sights like Kirkjufell, I found it easy to see how these ideas took form. The natural world is at its most rugged and picturesque here. Waterfalls, mountains and volcanic rock dot the area. Storms ravage the land and sea, only to be replaced by sunshine and blue skies moments later. Maybe that’s why Norse mythology is so beautiful, and why they call this country the “Land of Fire and Ice.”

FIN This story is part of "Mapping Wanderlust," a project that seeks to inspire people to travel by creating an archive of global wonders. Learn more: Interested in supporting the project? Visit:

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