K. Hoell

Losing Photographs, Making Memories

20. March 2019
Written by: Kristin Hoell
A photographers takes pictures of a glacier lake filled with icebergs.

Iceland offers lots of diverse photo opportunities.

Every photographers’ nightmare happened to me in Iceland. I was there in October 2012 to develop new work at SIM Residency. At first, my camera started developing a mysterious life of her own. She would stop working mid-shot and just stay in some sort of limbo state. Alternatively, she would start shutting off at random. Reliability looks differently.

Salt Water Destroys Microchip

I couldn’t even be angry with my moody work companion. I knew immediately who had caused this erratic behaviour: My own carelessness during my prior project. “Drowning in a Sea of Infinite Meaning”, my final MA project at the University of Brighton, revolved around turbulent seascapes. My camera received a splash of salt water more than once. Unfortunately, I never sat down to clean her afterwards. This rooky mistake surely won’t happen to me again. Oh well, you live, you learn. I learned firsthand that microchip erosion is a real thing.

Jökulsárlón is a large glacial lake in southeast Iceland.

Jökulsárlón is a large glacial lake in southeast Iceland.

The Nightmare of Every Photographer

The second nightmare happened long after I had returned home from an incredible stay on this remote island that sits lonely in the North Atlantic. For reasons completely unknown I lost some of the most beautiful images that I had taken there. Whilst backing up I must have missed a folder at some point. It was the folder with a night shoot of the impressive “Aurora Borealis”. They were the only green flares that I got to photograph whilst I was in Iceland. 

Vivid Memories of “Aurora Borealis”

The peculiar thing is that I still remember the photos and the event very vividly. Because I’ve been consistently photographing since I was very young, I always thought that I needed pictures to remember. To my surprise, the opposite seems to be true. Losing these images has actually helped to burn this exceptional experience into my memory bank much clearer. Whereas my memory around other experiences of which I have pictures dissipates over time. I’m astonished how many details I can recall about this night. I remember clearly how I stood outside underneath Reykjavik’s pitch black night sky, which was now being used as a backdrop by the impressive dance of green lights. I can still feel my freezing fingers which try to make my increasingly flaky camera work and gazes of astonishment upwards to take in the natural wonder.

Travel Recommendation to Iceland

For once, I am not able to share a gorgeous memory with others. One of the reasons why I keep photographing is to share the beauties of the world. Ironically, one of the most touching natural occurrences that my camera has ever witnessed and captured, was lost along the way. So, now instead of being able to show you the beauty, I would like to give you the recommendation to take a trip to Iceland and experience the “Aurora Borealis” firsthand. That really is the only way it can really be understood and felt in all its glory anyway. 

 

Here are some impressions who weren’t lost during my faulty saving process: 

 

Travel Iceland

Travel Iceland

Travel Iceland

Travel Iceland by Kristin Hoell

Travel Iceland by Kristin Hoell

Travel Iceland by Kristin Hoell

Travel Iceland by Kristin Hoell

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