Photo: Maroesjka Lavigne, courtesy Robert Mann Gallery, New York
The Eerie Beauty of Iceland's Tundra
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The Eerie Beauty of Iceland's Tundra

By Photo: Maroesjka Lavigne, courtesy Robert Mann Gallery, New York

In 2011, when photographer Maroesjka Lavigne was 21, she traveled to Iceland on an impulse, and spent four months driving by herself around the country. “I felt overwhelmed every second I drove through this great landscape. This is where I realized the power of nature,” she wrote in an email. 


Maroesjka Lavigne, courtesy Robert Mann Gallery, New York
Viewpoint, Gullfoss Reykjavík, 2011

The vision of Iceland that resulteda series titled Íslandis a landscape where humans live in frontal confrontation with the elements, evidence of their existence appearing as a pop of color against a backdrop of pure, glaring white. A bright red bus is almost camouflaged in the snowy landscape; a lone figure staring into a precipice is a dark silhouette.


Maroesjka Lavigne, courtesy Robert Mann Gallery, New York
Autobus, On the Road, 2012

Lavigne’s images have a dreamlike David Lynch-like quality to themalmost a made-up place. “When I started photography in high school and all my favorite photographers were documentary photographers," she writes, "I didn’t know anything else existed. But later on I discovered all the different roads you could take with photography. That’s when I realised I loved photography, because you can create your own world with it.”  


Maroesjka Lavigne, courtesy Robert Mann Gallery, New York
Hildur in Her Car, Mosfellsbær, 2012

 


Maroesjka Lavigne, courtesy Robert Mann Gallery, New York
Heimaey by Night, Vestmannaeyjar, 2012

Some of these scenes are familiarbathers taking a dip in the famed Blue Lagoon. Others glimpse an otherworldly place: a buttercup yellow abode is nestled in a vast expanse of white; an eccentric young man stares imperiously into the middle distance, oligarch of a claustrophobic domain. One of the most surprising images is that of shrimp in the kitchen sink, shot from above. The translucent creatures float toward the drain, drifting like creatures from a surrealist paintinganother exploration of the human-nature tension, in a more domestic context. 


Maroesjka Lavigne, courtesy Robert Mann Gallery, New York
Yellow House, On the Road, 2011

 


Maroesjka Lavigne, courtesy Robert Mann Gallery, New York
Blue Lagoon, Reykjavík, 2011

 


Maroesjka Lavigne, courtesy Robert Mann Gallery, New York
Magni the Magnificent, Prikið, Reykjavík, 2011

 


Maroesjka Lavigne, courtesy Robert Mann Gallery, New York
Shrimps, Reykjavík, 2011

Maïa Booker is the photo editor at The New Republic. Follow Maïa @maiabooker.

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