PDN Photo of the Day

The Spectacle of Iceland’s Midnight Sun

In 01:20 (Hatje Cantz, 2019) Bastiaan van Aarle documents the continuous midnight sun in Ólafsfjörður, Iceland, during the month of July. His photographs create a record of one of nature’s spectacles, as well as a portrait of Icelandic life.

Every year in Ólafsfjörður, the sun briefly touches the horizon on the first day of July and then immediately rises. Over the ensuing days it sinks lower and lower, until night gradually returns. The 31 photographs in 01:20 were taken over the course of 31 nights, the shutter clicking at precisely 1:20 am, the darkest moment of the day during July. The book visualizes the changes in light, until darkness finally descends on the quiet fishing village.

01:20 also reveals aspects of daily life in this geographically isolated spot. Only the traces of human beings can be discerned in the environment: dilapidated containers, rusted industrial ruins, parked cars. Like many Icelandic villages, it is made up of houses with corrugated metal roofs, a church near the harbor, a few shops, a gas station, a fish processing factory, a swimming pool, a hotel, and a school. “It tells a lot about the culture, about the way that houses are built, how the people cooperate,” says van Aarle about this aspect of his project.

In 01:20, van Aarle captures Ólafsfjörður as an alternative to today’s globalized world.

Bastiaan van Aarle (b. 1988, Belgium) is a conceptual landscape photographer who works around questions of the human influence on the landscape and the concept of time in photography.

By Bastiaan van Aarle
Hatje Cantz (2019)

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