Icelandic Memoirs 冰岛恋歌

January 27, 2021 2021年1月27日

If you’ve ever wanted to visit another planet without actually leaving Earth, then Iceland may be as close as you’re going to get. Formed millions of years ago in the early Miocene Epoch, this landmass of volcanic origin isn’t shy in flaunting its ancient beauty. From its obsidian terrains and vast mountain ranges to its immense glaciers and awe-inspiring waterfalls, the country has captivated the imagination of countless travelers throughout the centuries.

Since high school, Li Yiwei has heard Iceland’s calling. The first time she learned about the Nordic country was in geography class, when the name of its capital—Reykjavík—piqued her interest. From there, her own research into the country left her mesmerized by its history and beauty. She couldn’t get Iceland off her mind, and years later, in 2013, she finally visited. She ended up staying, attending university and finding her first job there. Now, having lived there for nearly eight years now, she remains no less fascinated by it.


如果想要地球上来一场外星之旅,冰岛恐怕是不二之选。形成于上千万年前的早中新世晚期,这个靠近北极圈由火山岩堆积而成的国度,像是被某种古老力量风冻的晶石。斑驳嶙峋的熔岩、磅礴浩瀚的冰川和山脉、瀑布在一望无际的平原之上奔涌狂澜、极光与湖泊相互衬映彼此的美艳……几近疯狂的地貌和气候,让冰岛成为近年来电影人、游客的光顾胜地。人们无需驾驶飞船,就可以抵达这奇异的国度。

早在高中时期,李宜蔚便对冰岛产生了浓厚兴致。记忆中一堂地理课上,她被雷克雅未克(冰岛首都)的名字深深吸引,那是她第一次与地球上天涯海角的彼端结缘。从 2013 年第一次踏上冰岛开始算起,李宜蔚已在这块被称为“北境之王”的土地上生活了足足八年。现在,冰岛陪伴她度过了大学和工作时期,岛屿之上的探险还在继续。

When Li first arrived in Iceland, the country was even more beautiful than she imagined. The majesty of its great outdoors inspired Li to pick up a camera for the first time. “It’s not that difficult to photograph Iceland,” she says. “It’s just too beautiful here. It feels like I can do no wrong, so that gave me the creative confidence I needed.”

Photography quickly consumed Li. To her, every image she’s taken bears a special memory. She says one of the most memorable images is one she snapped after a seven-hour-long mountain trek through falling snow. The tiring journey was all worth it when she reached the summit—the clouds opened up, offering a panoramic view of the open blue sky, and as the sun set, the scene was colored in by a magical, pastel tint. “I saw the most beautiful moon that day,” she says. “The snow-capped mountain ranges, with the moon alongside, was a sight to behold. The obsidian precipices of the nearby mountains also seemed to shimmer in the light.”

Born and raised in Guilin, a Chinese city renowned for its own breathtaking mountains and lakes, Li has long believed that urban life is a deviation from the norm. She believes cities have severed mankind’s connection with the natural world and sees Iceland as a place where that connection can be rekindled.

Even though she’s already lived in Iceland for eight years, Li stills enjoy exploring the country and soaking in the sights. There always seems to be new discoveries around every corner. “Heading out in search of specific places I hear about is just an excuse to go out and take pictures,” she smiles. “My favorite photos usually happen when I’m still on the road.”


与冰岛的初次见面,这里的一切景象就与李宜蔚心中对美的向往就达成某种默契。而她的摄影创作也从冰岛开始,她说:在冰岛成为摄影师的成本其实很低,随手拍都是美景,这也给了我很强的自信心。” 很快,拍摄对于她来说成为一件兴奋的事,令沿途的风景与镜头随行,一张张记录下属于自己与冰岛的恋曲。在一次内陆高地的徒步中,李宜蔚在雪山中行走了七个多小时,在登上雪山的一刹那,漫布天际的粉紫色云烟映入眼帘,瞬间开阔的美丽让她至今难以忘却。她回忆道:“那一天看到了一生中最美的月亮,与雪山交相辉映,山顶还有好多黑曜石,在地上闪闪发光。”

从小在桂林山水下成长,让李宜蔚对美有一种独特的认知。她认为城市将人原始的本能割裂,而在冰岛,人回归到了人性最开始的地方,她说道。

李宜蔚认为能居住在冰岛,对于任何摄影师都是一件幸福的事。目前居住在雷克雅未克,她平时喜欢四处走走,沿途的美丽总在不经意间发现。她说:有趣的邂逅会引起我拍照的兴趣。去寻找景色只是出门拍照的一个借口,大多数自己满意的照片都是寻找景色的过程中遇到的惊喜。

There’s an expansiveness to Li’s photography, one that magnifies the innate bond between man, wildlife, and land. In her images, the clouds often seem to be within reach. The contours of the land are welcoming yet breathtaking in their sheer scale. There’s also a minimalist elegance to be found in a lot of her work. Through Li’s eye for color and composition, she brings a sense of balanced harmony into every image. Each snapshot is cohesive and every element is purposeful, constructed with seeming effortlessness. “I think like a designer when I take photos,” she says. “I want the relationship between every element to be clearly illustrated.”

There’s also a duality to her work, one that’s most obvious in the differences between her day-time and night-time snapshots. In the former, the sun’s radiance illuminates the entire scene, revealing her vision in 20/20. For the latter, she wields the darkness of night to conjure moodiness and a sense of mystery.

Her use of color, and at times, Photoshop manipulation, further elevates the surreal qualities of her work. “Even though my photos are based on reality, post-processing can make the colors feel even more otherworldly,” she says. “After all, that’s how I see Iceland—a place of fantasy.”


她的作品中,视线和心灵总是无比开阔,人、动物、事物、景观毫不违和地融为一体。画面中,天边的云朵触手可及、大地的轮廓清澈且壮丽,一不小心将观众的思绪和身体跌入震撼的场景。看似简约的构图,却在色彩和比例的安排上令人心旷,不同事物间的关系也交代地清晰。李宜蔚说:我拍照的时候大概会用到很多设计思维,让照片中的不同元素保持一种互相依存的关系。

地处北极圈边缘,冰岛通常会在一年中出现极昼和极夜的现象。或许正是因为如此,她的作品往往呈现出两种不同的色系,明亮的似乎可以洞穿万物的心灵、黑暗的则在深沉中匿藏神秘。

与此同时,“超现实主义”则构成了李宜蔚作品的主色调——人物以裸露和释怀的姿态拥抱自然、天地之间的冰岛马特写、漂浮在山间的云朵……她说:即便拍摄对象来源于冰岛的现实环境,通常我也会通过后期制作来让画面看起来更具超现实的感受,因为印象中的冰岛本来就是梦幻且不真实的。”

2021 marked the eighth year of Li’s time in Iceland. She’s witnessed the country’s sweeping changes, namely the surge in tourism. Especially in city centers, a lot of establishments were shut down and transformed into inns, restaurants, or shops catered towards tourists. Much of the country’s dated architecture has been modernized. Many locals have also begun moving out of downtown. “Tourism has brought in a lot of money, but it’s also affected the locals in a negative way,” she says. “A lot of the places they used to frequent are now gone, and the price of eating out has gone up significantly.”

The direction that Iceland is heading isn’t something she’s particularly thrilled by, and it’s given her photography a sense of urgency. “This is perhaps the greatest allure of photography,” she says. “It allows you to capture fleeting moments and preserve them forever.”


李宜蔚在冰岛度过八年间,她也亲眼见证了岛上发生的转变。随着旅游业的慢慢兴起,冰岛的游客数量大幅度上升。城市中几乎所有店铺成为酒店、餐厅和旅游用品店,很多文化场所被迫改建,不少原住市中心的居民开始向外搬迁。她说:旅游给当地带来了很多经济收入,但是也逐步吞噬了居民的日常生活,很多常去的地方渐渐消失,餐厅的价格飞涨。

显而易见地,李宜蔚并不希望冰岛原始的风貌被旅游和商业侵占,而一键恒久远的摄影创作,对于一切或许带有更多含义。她说:这大概也是摄影的魅力,捕捉到的瞬间是存在的但是只能靠照片保存下来。

In the past eight years, Li has only returned to China once, staying briefly for a year. The urban lifestyle was a worse culture shock than she imagined, and she opted to return to Iceland. Though the Nordic country can be numbingly cold at times, and it’s of course much smaller than China, Li simply feels more grounded there. “Much of the country was built from the ground up in the past decade,” she says. “This means new visitors feel less like an outsider. You assimilate pretty quickly. Perhaps that’s part of Iceland’s appeal. A lot of people come and don’t want to leave, like me. They feel right at home.”


冰岛生活间隙,李宜蔚也曾回国呆过一年。但对于习惯了生活在原始自然环境的她来说,喧闹和茂密的混凝土丛林显然不再适应。很快,她又回到了熟悉的冰岛。这片岛屿虽然不大,也时常严寒,但这里的一切却让李宜蔚觉得踏实。她说:“很多东西是近几十年建起来的,不太让人有排他的感觉,很容易就融入到其中了。这也许也是冰岛的魔力,很多外国人来了就安了家,不想离开。这里是我的第二个家。”

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Contributor: Pete Zhang


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供稿人: Pete Zhang

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