Tracing Icelandic roads between glaciers and volcanoes

Rumbling volcanoes, hissing geysers, yellow-white sulphur vapour between black rocks – there are few stranger places on Earth than Iceland. Photographer Stefan Bogner has toured Iceland’s roads with his camera…

It is amazing that in this primeval world there are any people at all. And even more absurd is the fact that they have actually built a road through this land of hostile glaciers and volcanoes. Route 1, or the Ring Road (Hringvegur in Icelandic) is 1336km long and was completed in 1976. Most of the road is paved, seeming rather like a river of cool lava that winds over a barren landscape of lichen- and moss-covered mountains. But the Icelandic people themselves don't seem entirely to trust their road network: on the way from the airport to Reykjavik, you see monster-sized off-roaders with studded, chest-high tyres and blinding searchlights on the roof, crawling like prehistoric creatures through the wasteland. On the gravel roads in the uplands, they are the only means of transport. However, off-road driving is forbidden: officially because of the risk of erosion, but we suspect it’s also because high-spirited elves and trolls make mischief here. 

Buy the book, book the flight

For his new book Epic, published by Delius Klasing, Munich-based photographer Stefan Bogner – best known for his magazine Curves – tracks the Icelandic roads. The result is a series of photographs that are refreshingly different from the countless coffee-table travel books on Iceland, because here the roads aren’t hidden but instead become the focus of attention. Browse the images and you can easily imagine how the photographer climbed out of his car, pulled his hat down to protect his ears from the icy wind, positioned himself in the middle of the road and clicked the shutter. The images under the lead-heavy Nordic sky are so powerful that many who buy this book will surely book a flight to Reykjavik.

The book ‘Epic’ by Stefan Bogner is published by Delius Klasing. More information at delius-klasing.de.