Little Icelandic Moments

Some years ago, in the summer of 2014, Laura and I were planning our first trip to Iceland. It was a time when the country was receiving increasingly more attention from tourists, but it was still much before the disruptive boom that followed. Mass tourism didn't seem to be a big problem yet, except maybe for 2-3 popular places, and it was usually very unlikely to know many people who had visited Iceland already. We didn't have any such friends at the time.

Our trip was supposed to last a little longer than a week. We did our research properly, we measured distances and in the end we reduced the area we wanted to focus on only to South Iceland—initially we had included landmarks from all over the country in our list. We realized that weather could be a troublesome friend, but off we went, saying "yes" to the challenge.

What we didn't think much about, though, was setting realistic expectations about what a single week would allow us to understand of that place. We were overambitious about the kind of images we were expecting to make. We went for the majestic landscapes, for powerful waterfalls and glaciers, for "the land of fire and ice"... you know the story from the thousands of pictures you are now bombarded with. What we found instead was different.

Iceland was surprising to us—not necessarily in a majestic way, but rather at a smaller level. Humble details, unique moments, quick changes, they all kept us curious. The beauty we discovered was hidden in many little moments, from which the following video took shape.

Much later, in 2019, I remembered about the video and came with the idea of making a "remix". Since I frequently work with deep learning algorithms in my professional life, I decided to use this technique and give the original video a painting-like feeling. Of course, the painting I used for style transfer was one related to Iceland: "Original Oil Pastel Icelandic Landscape from Iceland" by Khurram Shahbaz, representing a colorful scene from Landmannalaugar.