Outtakes

Eamonn J McCabe explains the lure of the iceberg
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Indy Lifestyle Online
"We took this photograph [below] as part of a shoot for British Marie-Claire in south-western Iceland in the summer of 1994. I went out there a day before everybody else, as a kind of location scout, and I came across this spot, which was perfect for that picture. The coat being modelled was quite simple, so I thought we needed something dramatic and theatrical-looking as a background. Since we did those pictures, they actually haven't let anyone else shoot on the icebergs, because they're very dangerous to go on to. But we didn't tell the model that; we just told her to do it. And we were told not to fall in the water, because if you do you've got about four minutes to live. It was all very dangerous, but we were very careful. We had to drop the model on the iceberg, pull back in a little motorised boat and take the picture from a distance, and that's really hard because, as you're shooting, the boat's floating away at a different angle.

In a way, though, the model was spoiling the picture for me; I just wanted to take a picture of the iceberg. I took some background pictures for myself first, and they came out so well that I knew I had to go back there. I returned on my own about five times, shooting landscapes, up until August 1996.

Most people don't ever see an iceberg. They don't have a sense of just how big they are, and they have preconceived ideas about them, through things like the sinking of the Titanic. They think of them as very menacing. They are awe-inspiring, but the atmosphere around them is not menacing: it's really peaceful and calming. There was no noise, no wind - all you can hear is the dripping ice.

When you see them, your mouth literally drops open. They are stunningly beautiful - turquoise blue. But I didn't want to photograph them in colour, because they look almost too amazing - almost like a poster image. I did get some great colour pictures, but I didn't use them; I wanted just to photograph the graphic nature of the icebergs. Until you see them in real life, you can't really imagine what they're like.

And they're never the same twice. You can never go back and repeat the picture, because they melt, break or go out to sea. Once you've taken the picture, you've got something totally unique, whereas most things we photograph can be rephotographed. You never know what you're going to get - it's a surprise every time you go there." Scott Hughes

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