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PORTFOLIO

14.03.2019

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The landscapes of Iceland have become well known in the world of photography. Like so many others, Ulrich Grill was intrigued by the island and wanted to capture its unique, but stark beauty. In contrast to his fellow photographers however, he decided to take an unconventional approach: in July 2018, he travelled to the island in the north of Europe for his Dark Shapes of Iceland project – one where he completely eliminated the use of colour. “I’ve always been interested in shapes and in shades of grey,” the Austrian photographer explains. “Keeping my eyes out for small features and with a preference for motifs that you might otherwise miss in passing, I found it exciting to be looking for something quite different.”

Grill’s hopes were quickly fulfilled: the pictures making up his Dark Shapes of Iceland series give equal space to both light and shadow. With painstaking observation, his images pay little heed to the overall landscape, but rather draw the viewer’s attention to fine details by the wayside. Grill was inspired in this by the US American photographer Ansel Adams: “I was fascinated by his ‘detail’ pictures that were possibly less-known than his large landscapes; I always found them full of an amazing suspense.” Faithful instead to landscape miniatures, the photographer creates fleeting worlds of wonder that, if not for his timely presence would have already been transformed by the impact of nature.

Playing with the unpredictable also comes with a certain degree of risk: bad weather has more often than not, put an end to many a photographer’s plans. This is particularly true when working far from civilisation. With just a Leica SL and his 24–90mm zoom in his pack, Grill was however, excellently equipped and able to move flexibly. Because he likes to work with as little gear as possible to allow him to focus all his attention on the motifs, the constantly-changing weather did not cause him much concern.

Read more about Dark Shapes of Iceland in LFI 2/2019

Equipment: Leica SL with Vario-Elmarit-SL 24–90mm f/2.8–4 Asph
All images on this page: © Ulrich Grill
© Nikki Magazine

Ulrich Grill

Born in Steiermark in 1969, Grill had already discovered a passion for photography
by the age of ten. After spending the nineties specialising in aviation sports photography, he currently travels the world to focus on new photographic projects. When not commuting between his home in Fuschl am See, Tokyo and Los Angeles, he likes to spend his time with his wife and three children.

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