Learning To Count to One

I have been in Iceland for three weeks. This afternoon I will be situated in Seyðisfjörður. I keep sitting down to write emails and postcards to friends and family, blog posts, and journal entries, but I never am able to spit anything out (except when I burst into laughter during breakfast and spit coconut milk in a shower over the table). I bought a single postcard. It remains blank. I try to explain places I've seen, people I've met, things I have experienced and done, but written words and small digital images are inadequate. I did not realize just how insufficient words and images can be in communicating until now.

How are landscapes this beautiful while also seeming so tame and, well, “normal”?  Why do people seem so interesting and yet so distant? Is it possible to feel this content and also this lonely? When has philosophy and theory ever been so simultaneously important and yet so fruitless? God has never seemed so real. I don’t think I’ve ever felt my need for Him more.

I love this. I am facing challenges I'd never thought I'd face. I am also terrified. And utterly excited. And terrified. And excited.

I have slipped over glacial regions, stepped the divide between tectonic plates, stood on the edges of sheep-dotted 400-foot cliffs overlooking the Atlantic, wandered sun-lit hostels at 3 AM on sleepless nights, run panicked from screeching Arctic Turns (mean lil’ buggers!), sipped an Arctic Thyme cocktail while serenaded by Icelanders singing Fun’s "We Are Young," hidden behind thundering waterfalls whilst cradling my camera like a baby beneath my layers, scrambled to catch flying playing cards on a bus winding its way across one-way bridges, and burned from the heat of magma under the thin surface of an active volcano.

I am developing a photographic narrative of my and my classmates’ experience as UW students studying, as our teacher Philip puts it, "how to count to one." I cannot think of a better way of describing our studies.

I've started by taking portrait shots of everyone in our little crew. Here are a few of those photographs followed by some extra images from our travels. The end of my Icelandic travels will culminate in a final photographic project featured on this website.