A woman crouched over in a pink skirt on a volcanic landscape

An image from Maryam Eisler’s new series ‘O is for Origin’

When Maryam Eisler, LUX Contributing Editor and author of The Sublime Feminine, visited Iceland the results were spectacular

At first glance, Iceland looks like what the Earth must have been at its very beginning, with the bleakness and sombre colours of the volcanic rock that seems to have pushed its way up to the surface only yesterday. This extraordinary terrain makes Iceland a genuine land of fire and ice, with active volcanoes and glaciers living side by side under the phosphorescent lights of the aurora borealis. The landscape creates a powerful visual poetry like no other place I’ve visited. It is no wonder that this land is rich in folklore, in which mythical creatures roam the land and sea. I even met one in my sleep, the hafmeyjan, or mermaid, who enraptures sailors with her siren songs and disappears into the waters’ depths with the men in her arms.

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A naked woman crouched in a green bare landscape with flowers on her spine

Icelandic culture is dominated by women, as the progressive nature of its society and politics today shows. And if there was ever a way to highlight the central role of woman in creation, it is in the shifting shapes of this landscape, where female curves match perfectly the green, moss-covered outcrops that stretch far towards the distant murky horizon.

Read more: Photographer Maryam Eisler on East London and the power of art

In such a place, where people and landscape join in a jagged, unreal harmony, the photographer simply has to respond to the variety and scale of what nature presents them. If nothing else, our duty becomes the preservation of this quixotic land for the generations yet to behold its wonders.

View Maryam Eisler’s full portfolio of work: maryameisler.com

This article was originally published in the Summer 19 Issue.