German photographer Jan Erik Waider has always been fascinated by the landscapes of the distant North. He spends much of his time exploring the rugged terrain of Greenland, Norway, Antarctica, and Iceland. For his latest series of abstract landscapes, Waider took a different approach and decided to focus on color.
These aerial shots, taken in Iceland, break down the environment in a unique way and highlight the various tonalities that grace a single scene. He gives the overarching concept a name—A Colorful Flow—and it moves across different series. For now, Waider has focused on blue and yellow, with other hues to follow in the coming months.
For the blue series, Waider was inspired by Iceland's magnificent glacial rivers and ice. “I was especially fascinated by the endless variations of blue and aquamarine tones that usually characterize these rivers,” he tells My Modern Met. “But also by the textures and flow patterns, which create a very complimentary landscape to the glaciers itself. Due to a long history of volcanism, Iceland has a wide variety of rocks in many different colors, which are crushed by the glaciers as they move down the mountains. Once the rocks have been crushed into flour, the sediments can be carried by meltwater, which gives these rivers their unique coloring. A completely surreal and new world that can only be seen from the air by plane or drone. And personally I liked the more monochrome river landscapes, which inspired me to create this series.”
By focusing on just a single color, Waider allows the viewer to see how subtle differences in shape and hue give each image a unique feel. After drinking in the calming compositions of the blue glacial rivers, it's fascinating to see how the volcanic rivers of the yellow series present themselves. Energetic and dynamic, the vibrant warm colors give off a completely different emotion.
In this way, Waider's series is not only an abstract vision of Iceland's landscape but a masterclass in color theory. If you're interested in having a piece of Iceland in your home, Waider has fine art prints available on his website. And if you are a landscape photographer, he has a set of Lightroom presets available for purchase.