There’s no shortage of photographers and filmmakers who want to capture the unique beauty of Iceland. (I’m even reminded of a recent credit card commercial.) The challenge is not finding what to capture so much as how to capture it. Is it possible to have a unique take on such a well-documented subject?
JP Lewis, filmmaker and traveler, found his own approach to capturing Iceland, while also raising some age-old questions about film versus still photography. He and his girlfriend spent six days touring the island with a cheap, blank picture frame.
Using this instrument alone, we slide seamlessly between shots that alternately moving into and out of the camera’s frame and the picture frame itself. Lewis plays here with the idea of boundary. When watching video, as opposed to a still photograph, a viewer sometimes gets the sense of moving through a limitless space. But juxtaposed with the stills in the picture frame itself, one is reminded that there are always boundaries, whether in time (stills) or in space (perspective), and that boundaries are necessary if one is to capture a subject at all.
It’s possible to watch the video and see Lewis’s idea as little more than a trick. And, of course, one might be forgiven this shallower interpretation because the beauty Lewis captures, coupled with some nice music for a couple minutes, makes for pleasant viewing experience that one can simply sit back and enjoy.