Photographing The Natural Giants Of Iceland

Glacial lake Jökulsárlón. Photograph by Edgar Berg.

Glacial lake Jökulsárlón. Photograph by Edgar Berg.

Lensman Edgar Berg shares his fascination for his unmovable muse: landscapes.

“In Iceland you can find beauty in the roughest mountains and the most powerful waves,” says Edgar Berg. “The island has so much energy that you can feel wherever you go. It inspires you to take out the camera all the time.”

Though based in Paris, the Filipino-German lensman has traveled more than his fair share of miles, whether for his work with international titles and brands or his own pursuits and interests. Last June, he took his camera to the south of Iceland, a topography that gives a wide spectrum of personifications; it jags, rolls, flows, and takes your breath away. 

The Skógafoss waterfall along the Skóga river. Photograph by Edgar Berg.

To Berg, taking landscapes seems to be a more personal undertaking. “I have always been into landscapes but haven’t shared as much online,” he shares. “Taking photos of landscapes is very calming and almost spiritual to me and this is probably one of the reasons I mainly keep them to myself.”

Whether it’s through passion projects or collaborations with the likes of Vogue and Ferrari, the creative feels like he has found his identity within the medium of photography. He compares his approach to shoots with cooking. “You can have the same ingredients every time but the outcome will be different while keeping a similar flavor profile,” he explains. “At the moment I am trying to allocate most of my free time into personal projects to further explore my creative visions. I have a folder with hundreds of concepts on my computer and if I am able to do only one of them this year I will be more than happy.”

Photograph by Edgar Berg.

Last year, Berg told Vogue that the most important part of a shoot is building a genuine and honest connection between him and the talent. “Mutual trust is essential to bring my vision to life,” he says. 

Of course, shooting landscapes has a different process from shooting with people. “You still have to find the right balance for your composition but obviously the subject won’t move,” he says, “so you have to plan ahead if you want a specific angle.”

Photograph by Edgar Berg.

In Iceland, Berg stumbled upon all sorts of angles, moods, stories, walls, and faces, capturing everything from a guesthouse in Kálfafellsstaður to nearby Jökulsárlón, which is a glacial lagoon beside Vatnajökull National Park. He also made a stop at Skógafoss, a waterfall on the Skógá River that, legend has it, hid a treasure behind its flowy curtains. 

Though these natural giants might seem too imposing, Berg relished the experience. “I am a big fan of otherworldly landscapes and anything that has something special about it,” he admits. Iceland for example looks and feels like you are not on planet earth anymore. It is fascinating and sometimes scary at the same time.”

The Kalfafellsstadur Guesthouse. Photograph by Edgar Berg.

In the past few years, his fascination and curiosities have taken him to such places as the Canary Islands, Normandy, and the south of Italy to South Africa, Bali, and “Nessy hunting” in Scotland. Regardless of where he is, when he visits other countries with completely different cultures, Berg finds it important to remain open and learn as much as he can. “I always like to travel with open eyes and reset my head to default settings so I can be fully immersed in the experience,” he says. 

Vogue Philippines: September 2023 Issue

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