Tori West is asking for your help in funding her final year photography project, ‘Faith In Others’, set in Iceland and build around Icelandic folklore. She graciously explains exactly what she is up to, and why this couldn’t have happened anywhere but Iceland.
You have launched a Kickstarter project called ‘Faith In Others’. What’s it about?
After travelling to Iceland at the beginning of the year I discovered that the people there believe in many tales and stories. The people there seem really open to everything and everyone, and I often wondered if it was because they had such strong beliefs in things that it almost seemed calming to them. This was really refreshing as they live in such an unstable environment. Some even believe that ‘elves’ protect them from disasters and bad luck. The project is about how many of these tourists sniggered about their beliefs and it made me feel as though people should have more respect towards what others believe in. So I’m going to photograph some of these tales through fashion photography and base an editorial shoot around them. I’m hoping people will be less dismissive to other people’s faiths when they are told about my work.
What do you need the funding for?
The funding will help towards the renting of my models, buying fabrics to make the clothes I’m photographing, my flights to Iceland and back home and to put towards my own exhibition. The most important thing the money goes to is my rent to be shown at graduate fashion week, so I can enter all the graduate awards.
What happens if you don’t get the funding? (I’m sure you will!)
I will have to re-think my entire final year project which will have a major effect on the images. It would be pretty sad to not see my idea go forward and it would be extremely difficult to fundraise it all myself by Christmas.
Can you give an example of where Icelandic folklore and your photography might meet?
Hopefully through fashion. I’m going to design some of the outfits based on one tale called the ‘mermaid wife’, it’s based on a man who stole a seal skin on the beach and later that day found a very upset lady crying on the sand. He then made her his wife and lived with her for many years until one day she found it, and stole it back and he never saw her again. Except for the day he saw her swimming in the ocean as a mermaid. My shoot will hopefully show these tales through the camera.
When did you first go to Iceland? Where did you travel to?
In March, I started in Reykjavík and rented a car, and through the course of a week I made my way to the other side of the coast to Seyðisfjörður.
What’s the plan for your next trip?
Hopefully the same thing, but being able to stay longer to shoot and travel up to the north of the country, as I didn’t get to see any of that side.
What made you think of Iceland for your project?
There’s no other place that has better surroundings that Iceland. It’s beautiful. It’s also very varied, some parts of the land are quite green while others are covered in snow. Most of it is inhabitable due to all the lava flows. Nevertheless, there is no doubt the country has extraordinary locations.
I think Iceland has a way of making people feel creative? Would you agree?
Definitely, I think it’s because it’s such a refreshing place to be because of its people and scenery.
More details on Tori’s project can be found here.