Friday Travel Photos – vol 5

Catch of the day!

This week’s stop is in Iceland, where I made an all too short, 4-day stop last year on the way back from Europe.  This country is full of photogenic spots, all deserving time to be explored and presented.

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Herring Barrels

These images are from the Herring Era Museum in Siglufjörður, a small town on one of the numerous fjords on the Northern coast of Iceland.  It is one of the many towns, villages and areas along the north and east coast of Iceland that were deeply affected by the arrival of the herring adventure around the beginning of the 20th century.

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Pickling the herring catch

Nowhere did the herring adventure have such an impact as in Siglufjörður. Norwegian fishermen came sailing on their herring vessels during the summer of 1903, and thereby the Herring Adventure had started. Within forty years this once tiny little village had transformed into a thriving town of more than three thousand inhabitants.

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Whalebone and museum view

For years the entire life of Siglufjörður centred on the herring catch and its processing – the town’s twenty-three salting stations and five reducing factories were a living reminder of that. Siglufjörður was also one of the most important ports in Iceland and on more than one occasion the herring exported from the town accounted for over 20% of the nation’s total exports.

As the herring adventure progressed, a goldrush-like atmosphere settled over the town, leading to Siglufjörður been dubbed the “Atlantic Klondike”. The town also became a magnet for herring speculators who came and went, some making a lot of money during the stay, and others not. With its booming industry, Siglufjörður also became a mecca for tens of thousands of workers and labourers seeking employment.

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A bit of local feel

When bad weather and storms broke, the sheltered waters of the fjord became home to a massed fleet of hundreds of herring ships. Life on land was just as colourful, the streets of Siglufjörður so jammed with crowds and activities that they resembled the teeming avenues of major cities.

Marine resources are notoriously unstable, and herring is no exception. Following depressed catch figures in the years around 1950, herring stocks began to be fished as never before. This was due to a new and more efficient fishing technology developed by Icelandic pioneers. Other countries were quick in claiming these advances for themselves.

The years that followed continued to underscore the decline of catches and fortunes in Siglufjörður and its surrounding area, eventually turning it into the sleepy, beautiful town that it is today.

[Source of background information: Wikipedia: The Herring Era Museum.]

Author: jansenphoto

A Fresh Perspective Photography is more than just a vehicle for capturing the world around me; it provides me with a palette and a set of brushes, with which I paint not only what I see, but also look to express the emotions that are evoked by the scene in front of me in that moment. Growing up in the Netherlands exposed me to a wide cross-section of visual arts that laid the foundation of my photographic view of all that surrounds me. Early influences were the Dutch Masters of the 17th century, to whom I was introduced by my grandfather during museum explorations; favorites among them are the scenes of quotidian life depicted by Jan Steen and Frans Hals and the vivid landscapes of Jacob van Ruisdael. My classical high school education was supplemented by the Boijmans Van Beuningen museum, where I spent many a lunch hour exploring its great collection. Here I was introduced to surrealism with a particular love for the approach taken by Salvador Dali; Dali also rekindled my appreciation for the work of Hieronymus Bosch, who often showed the folly of us mortals. Universal Connections My approach to any photographic subject is to look for understanding first; in this I look to establish either a connection between the viewer and the subject or capture the connection of the subject with its surroundings. The captured image then aims to portray this connection from a perspective that is part of my personal interpretation. This interpretation is often a form of externalized introspection, which may alternately display the connection of isolated beings and items with their environment or highlight the whimsy of the profound world, in which we find ourselves. The universe is full of connections, many of which are waiting to be discovered; part of my journey as a photographer is to document these connections. Any assignment, be it an event, a product shoot or a portrait session is always approached through communication with the client; this is where the first connection is established. Ideas are exchanged and a collaborative plan of action forms, ultimately resulting in a set of images that aim to exceed the expectations of each client. And, lest we forget, it is important to have fun while practicing the serious business of photography!

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