One Roll Story
One Roll Story is a quest for understanding the photographic act. The value and power of each exposure, the capacity of photography to materialize a fragment of reality into a tangible object, harboring a piece of imagination, time and space.
An old analog camera and one unique roll of photosensitive film, with room for 12 photographs, was used from end to end. While staying with a family living from farming and fishing in a corner in the northwest of Iceland, called Króksfjar∂arnes.
One Roll Story es una búsqueda por la comprensión del acto fotográfico. El valor y el potencial de cada exposición, la capacidad de materializar un fragmento de realidad en un objeto tangible, albergando una porción de tiempo, espacio e imaginación.
Se utilizó un único rollo de película fotosensible, con capacidad para 12 fotografías, de inicio a fin. Documentando la estancia con una familia dedicada a la ganadería y la pesca en un rincón del noroeste de Islandia, llamado Króksfjar∂arnes.
The focusing screen of the camera had some humidity spots. While dismantling it to be cleaned, the order of the lenses was changed, modifying the view of the focal plane and resulting in unexpected unfocused photographs.
This is the bridge heading to the Króksfjar∂arnes peninsula, located in the northwest of Iceland where around 250 people live. There are 5 sheep farms and one of the only 4 mussel factories in the country. The bridge was built in 1997 and nowadays is the main access route to the remote district of Vestfir∂ir.
When autumn comes, the farmers get ready to gather their sheep from the mountains. At the end of May, just after the lambing season, they are set free. This way the flock grows healthier and stronger. It takes some weeks to bring all of them together again as large areas, generally with harsh terrain, are searched. Beggi has 430 sheep spread across 1,700 hectares of land that he knows well. With help from relatives and friends, all-terrain vehicles, binoculars and radios, he succeeds in driving all of his flock back to the farm again.
“Réttar Daggur”, a special event held during the gathering season, takes place during the second week of the month. Local farmers bring every sheep they have found that doesn’t belong to their flock to a common space. Around 300 sheep are placed inside the same fence for matching the animals up with their owner. In this vast area with low density of population the event is also an opportunity for the community to catch up and celebrate.
Once all the sheep are in the farm again, the characteristics of each animal are exhaustively checked and measured. An ultrasound scan is used to obtain information about their physical condition. This way the farmer can have a better knowledge of the state of his flock.
The sheep found in Iceland are part of the northern European short-tailed breed, used for both their meat and wool. Although they have evolved to survive the Icelandic winter, the often unstable weather during the coldest months of the year may cause them problems. For the last 30 years most farmers in Iceland keep their flock in the sheep house during winter to guarantee their welfare.
Va∂alfjöll, 509 meters high, stands out in the landscape. The transition occurring during autumn creates a mix of colours shinning over the dark volcanic earth that covers most of the country. Trees grow in very few places on the island, but wild bushes are abundant. At the end of the summer a large amount of berries is able to be harvested, mainly used to produce jam.
Bergsveinn Grétar, “Beggi”. Born in the 60s, he grew up in a farm south of Vestfir∂ir. From a young age he has known how to learn from his surroundings. Nowadays he is skilled as a sailor, hunter, farmer, and fisherman, among others. He is also a great storyteller and the owner of one of the 4 mussel factories in the country.
Knolli, a fishing boat built in 1988. It’s 15 meters long and it supports 21 tons of load. Beggi is the captain. He fishes mussels on the west coast of the island with it. He searches for shallow waters inside the fjords and, thanks to a sonar, analyses the relief of the seabed which allows him to identify when he’s sailing over a mussel bank.
Back on the mainland the mussels are brought to the mussel factory, where they are cleaned and packed before being sent to restaurants in the capital, Reykjavík. In a normal working day around 250 kilograms are processed.
The mussels, or mytilidae, are marine bivalve molluscs that feed by filtering salted water and absorbing its nutrients. This causes the mussels to contain a large amount of minerals and to be a gastronomical delicacy around the world. It’s not the case in Iceland, as generally Icelanders don’t consider the mussels a tempting meal. They are mainly exported and cooked for tourists visiting the island.
Magga, the mother of the family, uses the shell of some of the mussels as canvases to paint marine landscapes. She uses the texture of the nacre on the inner side to compose the sky scene. Afterwards she sells them at a craft market to tourists visiting the area.
Weather conditions are changing quickly in this region of the planet. The snow falls easily and highlights the changes in the landscape. The tides also play a great role in changing and modifying the environment. The moon phase, the atmospheric pressure, and the direction and intensity of the wind define the level of the tides, which moves in 12 hour cycles and can be as high as 6 meters tall.