Masks on and fingers firmly crossed, as the vaccine rollout continues at full speed, it looks as though there might just be light at the end of the Covid tunnel. If all stays on track, then travel restrictions should also continue to be relaxed. And we can hug! The pandemic has had a massive impact on the businesses of many full-time photographers. We spoke to James Rushforth – who’s itching to get back to one of his favorite locations on earth, Iceland. We asked James about his lockdown experiences, how he’s managed to keep his business wheels turning, plus what’s next once life starts to open again…
Here’s what he had to say to Wilkinson Cameras:
‘I was actually leading a winter workshop out in Iceland when the pandemic was first announced – my group got some of the last flights back home before the borders began closing. As someone who normally leads a very transient lifestyle, adjusting to the restrictions has been difficult.‘Thankfully, I’ve been working on a two-volume set of photo-location guidebooks to Iceland for the last five years and the pandemic has removed just about every potential distraction and excuse for not getting them finished. In the last 18 months, I’ve fallen into a routine of writing and illustrating – and running.’‘I was leading an ever-increasing number of photography workshops in Iceland and taking the time to explore the country in-between groups. The more I discovered, the more I fell in love with the country. Much like the Dolomites, Iceland is a perfect playground for adventure photography, and it was lovely to experience somewhere new after being based out in Italy for several years.‘Following the Dolomites guidebook, I partnered with Wild Photography Holidays – leading Dolomites and Icelandic photography workshops on their behalf. Geraldine and Martin, the owners of the company had been living in Reykjavík for many years and already had a good portfolio of images. Their excellent local knowledge got me off to a flying start when the decision to write an Icelandic photo location guidebook was made.’
The guides are extensive! How many times have you visited Iceland to create such a comprehensive guidebook and image library?
‘The creative potential of Iceland is huge, and it quickly became apparent I would need to spend a long time in the country. The owners of Wild Photography Holidays very kindly let me use their lovely apartment in Reykjavík as a base and I drove my van out from the UK – taking the Norröna car ferry from Denmark to Seyðisfjörður. I would spend up to 9 months at a time out in Iceland, exploring in the van before returning to Reykjavík to resupply and have a rest.’
What do you look for in a location – you mention both classic and undiscovered – can you say a little bit about the merits of both?
‘Essentially, I’m looking for somewhere aesthetic with good creative potential and if possible, some historical significance also. Fortunately, these criteria are easy to satisfy in Iceland – the problem is narrowing down locations as opposed to finding them! I would mark up a master map on Google, color-coding locations according to how much I liked them.
Has covid made you rethink any aspects of your photography/business going forward?
‘Yes, I think the last year has been a sobering experience for many of us. Certainly, from my perspective, it has made me realize how much I took for granted, particularly with regards to To follow James on his upcoming adventures, plus to enjoy endlessly inspiring past travels, visit his Instagram or Facebook or visit Wilkinson Cameras