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Chantal Anderson: New Myths

Work / Photography

Photographer Chantal Anderson explores youth culture in remote Iceland

Woven deep within the sublime beauty of Iceland’s remote East Fjords area is a rich tapestry of stories. “The myths of the town all involve dwarfs, ghosts, and often times unexplained changes in the landscape,” photographer Chantal Anderson explains. “They’re as factual or fluid as the reader chooses to believe.” Chantal’s fittingly mysterious series New Myths explores youth culture in the far-flung area incorporating “the natural landscape, supernatural beings and unexplained phenomena". "These stories question and appreciate the self-identity and sense of place we create while growing up,” she says.

At first, the mountains and waterfalls of the East Fjords were as foreign to Chantal as they are to us on a grey Tuesday morning in Hackney: the editorial and lifestyle photographer is usually found on the Pacific Northwest, where she works in Seattle, Portland and Los Angeles. “I first came to the East Fjords for an artist residency that enabled me to live in the mountains and spend a month working on projects in the town,” Chantal explains. “I took my first trip in the spring and met Hanna, a ten-year old girl in town with blue eyes and half of her head shaved. She asked me to take her photo and a friendship blossomed-–soon every day after school she’d be knocking on the door of the house I was staying at asking if I wanted to walk to a nearby waterfall with her and some of her friends.”

From there, a relationship blossomed: Chantal was it in it for the long haul. “I photographed them for an entire month, and then returned later that summer and met more of the kids in the town. There were days when it never got dark, and I hung up a bed sheet over the skylight so I could fall asleep at 3am.”

The New Myths images are part of a larger book project which documents a collection of original myths written by the teenagers Chantal met and befriended while living in their small town.

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