Kris Graves is a photographer from Queens, New York City. He has a plan to produce a book of photography, incorporating three separate trips to Iceland. He shares with me an obsession with Iceland, although Kris expresses his with the most stunning photographs of Iceland, instead of my words.
Kris describes Iceland as: ‘isolated, removed, and independent. Alone in a cold sea, sparsely populated, its volcanic visage is harsh and unrelenting. Volcanic and ever-changing landscapes, barren fields, inhospitable winters, sparse population. Unanticipated landscapes are hidden in plain view.’ I couldn’t have put it better myself.
What is ‘Discovered Missing’ all about?
Discovered Missing is the feeling of going somewhere without any idea of what you will actually encounter; seeing a place that most others will never see.
Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?
I attended Purchase College in New York, graduated with a BFA in Visual Arts. I currently work as associate photographer at the Guggenheim Museum. I also operate a publishing company, act as editor for another publishing company, act as the New York vice president for the American Society of Picture Professionals, amongst numerous other things.
When did you first discover Iceland?
I first discovered Iceland through photographs that a close friend made on his visit in 2009. We were trying to plan a trip there together but things fell through and he went first, drove around the island by himself and came back with some incredible photographs. I was jealous. So I planned a trip the following year to make my own photographs.
I note that the photographs were taken over three trips. What kept you going back?
I kept returning because I felt like I didn’t do the country justice. I made thousands of photographs on five different cameras, and have narrowed down to 40 or 50 photographs that I feel tell the story about discovering a place that most people will never see.
How do you choose which images to take?
I photographed extensively and wanted to show only the most unique landscapes. I chose photographs that were distinctly Iceland. You can find waterfalls, glaciers, and black sand beaches in other parts of the world; I wanted to choose photographs for the series that were unique to this country. I want you to feel the tension of this land.
Which of your Iceland images are your favorite?
It is extremely difficult to think of favorite images. Some of my favorite photographs are of the aurora borealis; because it requires a bit of luck. You have to hope that the sky is clear; and in Iceland that is never a definite. Those long nights under the stars with friends; driving around hunting, climbing hillsides. I hope never to forget those experiences.
I really love the ‘Under Skagaströnd’ image; what was the inspiration for that?
Under Skagaströnd was made one late night where me and a crew of my eight friends were out spending time in the cold looking for northern lights on a rocky hill above the cabins we were staying in. I just loved the sparse population of the place between the mountain and the Greenland Sea. You can also see the faint impressions of northern lights above.
I found Iceland to be utterly inspiring, and found writing about it both easy and a pleasure. Is it the same for you with photography?
Iceland is a pleasure to visit and seems to have a landscape made for photography. I fell in love with the place and felt at home on the island.
I wish Kris all the best in his venture. The monograph will be limited to 250 copies worldwide, in a delightful cloth-bound hardcover and be specially printed by Oddi in Iceland. Kris is seeking funding via Kickstarter. I know exactly how he feels. A man from another land looking to share his obsession with Iceland’s natural beauty.
Check out Discovered Missing on Kickstarter here.
Photo courtesy of Kris Graves.