Last summer I visited Iceland for a couple of days. While there I was completely captivated by the spectacular landscape, from the lunar like plains, to the glacier fed lakes, and black sand beaches. It was like no place I have ever been before, and I loved it.
After a day of exploring the black sand beaches of Vik, we were heading back to Reykjavik and decided to pick up a hitchhiker who was heading the same way. He was originally from the US and had moved out to Iceland after falling in love with the country a few years earlier. For the next few hours he regaled us with stories about Iceland, and gave us plenty of tips on things to see.
Last week I came across a series of photographs taken by the Icelandic photographer Pétur Thomsen called Imported Landscapes. It immediately reminded me of one of our conversations regarding the building of a hydroelectric power plant in the east of the country.
The hitchhiker explained that the power plant has been the frequent subject of protests by a number of environmentalists (including himself), chiefly because the area was formerly the second largest area of unspoiled wilderness in Europe. The project involved creating three reservoirs and building five dams; one of which is the largest of its type in Europe.
Thomsen started working on the Imported Landscape series in 2003, in order to document how the landscape of Kárahnjúkar was devastatingly transformed during the building of the power plant. They clearly show the viewer just how the landscape was changed and add fuel to the debate about whether the environmental impact of these large scale projects can be justified. Check out the complete series here.