Photos Reveal the Abstract Beauty of Lava From the Fagradalsfjall Volcano

Molten Lava in Iceland

German photographer Jan Erik Waider is known for his interesting approach to landscape photography. Preferring to draw out abstract shapes in nature, he often travels to Iceland to produce unique takes on the oft-photographed environment. So, it was only natural that he make a trip when the Fagradalsfjall volcano began erupting in March 2021. While there, he produced his LAVA series, which gives a close-up look at both magma and cooled lava.

Waider positioned himself in the Nátthagi valley and was able to get close to a fresh lava flow. Using a telephoto lens, he began to photograph the shapes and textures of the lava in its various forms. By working with this lens, he was able to take images that were visually close while still keeping himself and his equipment safe.

“What makes the use of telephoto zoom lenses so special for me in the field of landscape photography is the possibility to find details that are really unique,” Waider tells My Modern Met. He was surprised by the dynamic landscape, as he observed cool lava break open and ooze the molten rock that was hidden inside. This caused new shapes that provided a constant source of inspiration for Waider. “This kind of simultaneously beautiful but also brutal transience was the charm for me,” he recalled.

In the end, Waider spent three days in the field gathering a vast amount of imagery in order to get photos with consistent light and contrast. The results are fascinating. Each photograph is a visual delight that highlights the surprising diversity of the lava. Ridges and ripples of hardening lava form different textures, while the red-hot lava cuts like a knife through the visual field. By focusing so closely on this one aspect of the volcano, Waider shows that nature can produce some of the best fine art.

Landscape photographer Jan Erik Waider spent three days photographing lava from the Fagradalsfjall volcano.

Cooled Lava from a VolcanoClose Up of Lava by Jan Erik WaiderCooling LavaClose Up of Lava by Jan Erik Waider

He used a telephoto lens to focus on the abstract shapes of both the hardened rock and hot magma.

Close Up of Lava by Jan Erik WaiderClose Up of Lava by Jan Erik Waider

The landscape was constantly changing as cooling lava broke open to reveal molten rock below.

Close Up of Lava by Jan Erik WaiderLava from Fagradalsfjall volcano in Iceland by Jan Erik WaiderCooled Lava from a VolcanoLava from Fagradalsfjall volcano in Iceland by Jan Erik WaiderLava from Fagradalsfjall volcano in Iceland by Jan Erik Waider

Jan Erik Waider: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Behance

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Jan Erik Waider.

Related Articles:

Mesmerizing Short Film Captures Rare Footage of a Volcanic Eruption in Iceland

Storm Chaser Captures Incredible Footage of Iceland’s Fagradalsfjall Volcano

Photographer Captures Viral Shot of the Northern Lights Behind an Erupting Volcano

Thrill-Seeking Photographer Describes What It’s Like to Be Inside an Active Volcano

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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