Incandescent Earth

"Iceland" by Tim Simmons

Photographer Tim Simmons, who spent six weeks in the land of fire and ice last year, describes the terrain as “one of the few places you still get steaming cracks and colored landscapes.” This turbulence is a result of its continent-straddling location: The island is cut through by the mid-Atlantic ridge, where the Earth’s Eurasian and North American plates diverge and throw up lava, steam, and bubbling, sulfurous water. For the past eight years, Simmons has been traveling the world with his large-format camera and creating oddly pristine images of vistas urban and natural, using his experience as a still-life photographer to artificially light intriguing locations from Norfolk to Arizona. Shooting his Iceland series, he drove from the island’s northern ferry port to the south and back again, transporting his equipment in his specially customized van and spending a day or more in each location, returning with just 16 images, a selection of which we showcase today. The results are both familiar and fantastic; Simmons describes them as “places that sometimes don’t look real at first glance but absolutely exist—you can walk up and find them.” Though he is wary of jumping on “the green wagon,” his work explores our relationship to the planet, at a time when the planet in its untouched state is harder and harder to see. “By treating the subject matter in this way, it lends itself to going on that journey, where by looking you can start to think.” Recently Simmons has started projecting his photographs, mounting open air slideshows at 2009's Latitude festival and the 2010 London Art Fair. More details of his outdoor activities can be found at his blog, Intervention Projects.

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