Portfolio: Jan Brykczynski
Northern lights: what we could learn from Iceland's farmers
Sunday 19 May 2013
Two hundred miles north of Reykjavik lies Arnes, an isolated region in Iceland's Western Fjords. It is populated by more than 2,700 sheep – and just 38 people.
Into this tiny agrarian community stepped the Polish photographer Jan Brykczynski. "I grew up in Warsaw, where two million people live, but I was always interested in finding out more about this life that I knew nothing about," he says. "I worked closely with a journalist who grew up in the local countryside and I told her I wanted to find the remotest place."
As part of a broader enterprise undertaken by the Sputnik Photos collective he helped found, Brykczynski's aim was to examine the balanced connection between man and nature in a rural setting – one that has lasted for centuries in Arnes – and to bring that experience to bear upon an examination of "urban tribes" in cities such as New York , where city farms are popular; and his native Warsaw, where plots in the city centre that were given to the working class during the Communist era have become home to a well-organised farming movement.
For his bleakly beautiful work in Iceland – for which he won the prestigious Syngenta Photography Award last week – he arrived in autumn, a time of sheep-gathering and slaughter. This allowed him to spy not only the pragmatic way with which locals deal with life and death (note the phlegmatic manner with which Ulfar, top left, displays the heads of two of his sheep); but also their sociable spirit of co-operation.
"Most of the people who live the longest on the planet come from rural communities where they enjoy a balanced life, healthy food, regular exercise and close friendships," he says. "Now I am very curious to find how such food-production practices can influence urban tribes."
More from Arnes can be found in 'IS (not)', a collective book on Iceland published by Sputnik Photos, sputnikphotos.com
MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word
Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 'Kidnapped boy may have been abused and murdered by VIP paedophile ring,' say police
- 2 Ridley Scott on Exodus, Gods and Kings casting: 'I'm not going to get it financed if my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such'
- 3 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 4 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 5 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' close to camp
This house and dental clinic 'piled up like bricks on the brink of collapsing' is why Japan wins at architecture
Ridley Scott on Exodus, Gods and Kings casting: 'I'm not going to get it financed if my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such'
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict