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Matt Willen Matt Willen | Tuesday 19. Mayá2009

Getting Started

OK, we are starting to move along here. Gústi and I spent the day yesterday planning and then went out shooting some landscapes and the like over in Bolugarvik in the afternoon, about 20 minutes away. A lot of the stuff we shot has been photographed over and over, so we tried to get some new angles on things. We both were having some difficulty getting in the zone, but a couple of decent ones. Bolungarvik, like Isafjorður, is a fishing village, though considearbly smaller in population. There are several old buildings and factories there that were related to the fishing industry, and which in recent years have not been able to able to maintain. One (or more) quotas are held by boat owners in town, which keeps many of the residents going. A boat load of cod came in when I was around the other day, and it appears (from some of the refuse that we found) that they bring shrimp in here as well. Here is a slide show of some photos (11 in all) from town.

We got to work today, and am now beginning to feel like keeping up with processing photos and note taking is a bit of a trial. We drove out Ísafjarardjúp (literally "deep icy fjord") and visited a couple of farms. On the way out and back we saw an arctic fox, some gray seals, and a killer whale. The first farm was what one might call a "car farm," in effect a salvage yard with the carcasses of about 400 cars, a few trucks, and a couple of boats scattered about. While the spectacle of the cars seemed something of an anomaly here admist the westfjord landscape, it is important to realize that the place and its proprietor, Bössi, serve an important purpose in the area: he cleans up farms by taking in all of their scrap machinery and cars; provided spare parts from the cars he collects, and then supplies scrap metal.

 

Afterwards, we visited a farm a little further out, where the owner, Sigurjón, had the most amazing collection of old records imaginable, plus a beautiful old Victrola and Gramaphone (complete with playable cylinders). With about 7000 records in his collection (most 78 rpm records), he has all but seven records produced in Iceland during the period of record production (from about 1929 until, what was it, the eighties). While the records do not leave his premises, he makes recording of them and is often hired as a DJ for weddings and other events. In particular, he likes the harmonica (i.e. accordion) music. It is worth mentioning that we simply drove out there in the afternoon, while he was doing some work on the tractor in his fields, and when Gústi told him what we were up to, he invited us into his house, and spent the next two hours showing us his collection and playing music for us (with considerable joy), and then fed us. A memorable comment, "I couldn't play an instrument, so I decided to play the gramaphone instead."


I can´t go on for much longer here as I have a lot to do tonight getting copy ready for launching the website, and a project description. But, what I am beginning to notice here is that there are quite a few people here who have a sort of niche within the community, that is useful to the community is certain ways, and that creates a kind of meaningful experience for them. There is much more to be said about this, which I have been thinking about quite a bit, but that´s it for now. I will try to get some photos from today up tomorrow.

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