Iceland is a dream destination for all of us here at Whattaroll, and we’re sure we share the love for its magical landscapes with many of our analog-loving friends and readers. So, it may not come as a surprise that we now find ourselves back to the famous island with a new story from UK-based Andrej Russkovskij, who we also previously featured for Hero of the Week and What a roll!
Andrej takes us back with a stunning set of surreal photographs he took using an Olympus OM-1 and a Lomo LC-A+, loaded with a number of choice films. Iceland, which he told us has been “on his bucket list for ages,” was every bit as amazing to him as he expected, and it’s indeed easy to be in awe with the place, looking at his snaps. A destination brings a different story for each traveler, so we just had to ask Andrej to share with us the highlights of his 7-day adventure around southern Iceland in January for this week’s Wanderlust feature.
Can you tell us something about yourself and what you do?
I’m a 27-year-old, Italian-born veterinarian currently settled in the United Kingdom. I’m also a travel addict and alternative music enthusiast with a taste for decadence and unconventional art.
You have shared a couple of blog posts about your journey, but for those who are yet to read it, can you give us a brief background about your trip? What made you choose this destination and how long did you stay there? What special preparations, if any, did you make for this trip? Did Iceland surprise you in any way?
Iceland has been on my bucket list for ages. I grew up listening to Björk and Sigur Rós and I’ve always wanted to experience their country on my own skin. It was a sudden decision: cheap flight at the right moment. Neither me nor Isabel, my girlfriend, are control-freaks when it comes to planning a trip and we are totally against fixed schedules because you never know what you’ll find on your way. We were well aware that 7 days were not enough to travel around the whole island during winter so we decided to focus on southern Iceland only. We found a host for the first two nights in Reykjavik, we rented a 4WD car and we decided what we really didn’t want to miss…and that was enough. Iceland lived up to all my huge expectations and didn’t disappoint me in any way.
In one of your blog posts, you mentioned seeing the northern lights and meeting a “very shy Mrs. Aurora Borealis.” Can you describe this amazing experience to us?
Well, that was our first encounter with the aurora on our first day in Reykjavik. And I won’t lie, we were both amazed by it. We drove far from the city lights and parked our car on a harbor in order to see the northern lights better. To be honest, the geomagnetic activity that night wasn’t incredible at all. But, for somebody who had never seen the aurora it was a good show. Of course, nothing comparable to what we experienced few nights later when the bright green lights were dancing all around us while we stood still on a meadow in the middle of nowhere.
Tell us about the analog arsenal you brought along with you for the trip. What made you decide to use these cameras and films? Did you achieve the results you had in mind using them?
I needed something practical, easy to bring along and good at the same time. So, I picked my father’s recently fixed Olympus OM-1, which, unfortunately, broke down on day 4. Luckily, I took the Lomo LC-A+, which is probably my least favourite camera, as a possible replacement. When it came to pick some films I kept in mind two issues: short days and, presumably, bad weather. Fuji Velvia 100, Fuji Superia 400, and Kodak Portra 800 were my choices and they didn’t let me down.
Against all odds I was very pleased with the shots taken with the LC-A+.
If you could repeat any day from your journey over and over, which would it be and why?
It’s seriously impossible for me to answer to this question! Every single day was spectacular and breathtaking in its very unique way.
What do you consider to be the highlight of this trip?
It’s funny because while we were there I kept on asking Isabel which were the three highlights of the journey and every day we had a different top 3! I personally loved the black shores of Vik, the milky white and bright blue icebergs of Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, and the ghostly desolation and violence of Snæfellsnes Peninsula.
Can you give an important piece of travel advice for film photographers like yourself?
Never forget what you will be dealing with and be flexible.
Lastly, if you could take just one camera and one roll of film to a dream destination, where would it be, which camera and film would you bring, and what will you make sure to take photos of?
I wish we had only one dream destination! Me and Isa have been talking a lot about Thailand lately. I guess I would follow the same philosophy I adopted for Iceland: something very practical and easy to bring around so either the Olympus OM-10 or the OM-1 (or both of them because you never know…). As far as films are concerned, I’d probably choose Fuji Velvia 50. Lastly, if I’ll ever manage to go there, I wouldn’t miss shooting temples, the jungle and those heavenly beaches.
Interview by Joy Celine Asto / Photography by Andrej Russkovskij
To see more of Andrej’s work, please head to the following links: