For years, the idea of Iceland as a destination has been growing in my mind. My Icelandic consciousness was raised when Reykjavik started building modern cultural destinations, like the Harpa Concert Hall (winner of the Mies van der Rohe award). Then, The New York Times gave Iceland some love in their 2013 list of 46 places to visit.
These photographs are a third, very persuasive reason to hop on an Iceland-bound flight–especially if the agenda includes a day trip on a Cessna, which is exactly how Russian photographer Andre Ermolaev captured these breathtaking landscape shots of the island’s river systems.
In 2010 Ermolaev traveled to the country with a friend, who had the idea to photograph the terrain from up above. “I was captivated,” Ermolaev tells Co.Design. “It turned out that one of the most interesting subjects is the overflow of rivers and only few photographers have stunning pictures on this topic.” So starting in 2011, Ermolaev returned to Iceland for three consecutive summers, traveling thousands of miles a few hundred feet in the air, and amassing a beautiful set of images.
What’s fascinating is how some of the photographs take on a grainy, retro exposure. The colors echo the tones used in renderings of the future, like these mid-century ideas for urban planning in Los Angeles. Then you look again, and the tributaries look like icy veins, rushing through some strange mythical beast. Another look, and they could be details from The Great Wave at Kanagawa, from over a century ago.