It wasn’t all that long ago that Iceland was viewed as an alien land; an island some 1000 miles from mainland Britain that most of the world knew very little about. In 2010, however, Iceland hit the front pages as Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted, causing huge disruption to thousands of international flights. Fearing negative press, the tourism board went on the charm offensive, keen to highlight its real beauty. People responded and tourism spiralled.
The stark environment and dramatic landscapes enticed world-leading photographers to see what all the fuss was about – the likes of Chris Burkard and Finn Beales – and within a few years, the Land of Fire and Ice became one the world’s most desirable holiday destinations. Last year Iceland welcomed nearly two million tourists. Through the view of a camera lens, and the influence of social media, word of its wild beauty spread rapidly, and continues to do so.
As is the way with shifting trends in travel, and the rising will to discover new regions, the interest in other similarly wild and unexplored countries is growing; fuelled largely by the likes of Instagram. One of these is the Faroe Islands, an archipelago in the Norwegian Sea, 200 miles from Scotland. The landscape here is huge and unforgiving, shaped by formidable seas and fast winds.
Few photographers capture this natural, unspoiled magnificence better than Kirstin Vang. Born on the island, she has spent her life exploring the fascinating hinterland, capturing the erratic weather in all its moods. Much like Chris Burkard and others achieved in Iceland a few years ago, Kirstin’s work will have you pining to visit the Faroes.
How did you first get into photography?
I was inspired by people coming to the Faroes to take photos. Every time I met up with travellers on the Faroes, I was always struck by the fascination these people had for the country. Being born and raised on the Faroe Islands made me kind of blind to the beauty around me. I wanted to see what they saw too. And that’s where I started to get into photography.
There is no denying that Daniel Ernst for a long time was my main source of inspiration. Travelling around with him I found out that there is something really satisfying in chasing beautiful scenery and capturing great light. He taught me a lot about photography – and my backyard was the perfect place for practising.
How would you describe your photography style?
I aim to keep my style as natural and as personal as possible. I like to add a feeling or vibe to the photo by placing people in the frame. My style is a bit dreamy too – I want people to be able to imagine themselves standing on the cliff, sitting at the edge or witnessing the beautiful sunset.
How much planning do you put in before travelling to a new place?
Timing and light is everything when taking photos. I, therefore, put the effort in getting to know the locations in terms of where and when the light is good. I like to find inspiration through Instagram location tags, Pinterest and simply googling. I plan the days roughly, but as everything in photography is dependent on conditions and light, it’s important for me to be able to change my plans on the way.