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Kate Friend: Beneath Iceland’s largest glacier

Work / Photography

Photography: Unbelievable photos taken beneath Iceland’s biggest glacier, by Kate Friend

You may know photographer Kate Friend for her high-end fashion editorial photography for the likes of NOWNESS, Dazed Digital or The Sunday Times, and for being the founder of contemporary fashion and culture magazine MOTHER. Stepping away from fashion editorial, Kate ventured out to Iceland where she delved below the largest glacier in the country to take photographs of it from beneath.

“Vatnajökull is the largest glacier in Iceland and the largest glacier mass in all of Europe,” Kate tells us. “It covers an area of roughly 8,000 sq. km and is almost 1000m thick at its deepest point. The landscape under the glacier is an undulating plateau, 600-800m above sea level with numerous valleys and canyons. The glacier is melting at a rate of around one metre-per-year. It is only possible to climb beneath the glacier in winter, when the ice is completely frozen.”

The photographs, you’ll agree, are utterly mind-boggling. The inside of the glacier is a huge, indigo cathedral that ripples upwards in huge cascading waves of ice. The series is almost a photography diary of Kate’s journey deep below the surface of the ice. “The story follows a timeline, from the winding and very lonely road through volcanic plains and gale force winds, to the entrance of the ice cave (a crack in the glacial surface), and to the cathedral-like interior of the glacier. It might seem hard to believe but the images have not been colour-altered.”

Kate’s trip out to Iceland to document this extremely rare sight was one of curiosity and of concern, “Vatnajökull is estimated to be melting at a rate of one metre per-year. In one of the most recent reports from the Icelandic government’s Committee on Climate Change, it warns that by the next century, Iceland’s glaciers will no longer exist.”

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Kate Friend: Beneath Iceland’s largest glacier

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Kate Friend: Beneath Iceland’s largest glacier

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Kate Friend: Beneath Iceland’s largest glacier

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Kate Friend: Beneath Iceland’s largest glacier

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Kate Friend: Beneath Iceland’s largest glacier

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Kate Friend: Beneath Iceland’s largest glacier

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Kate Friend: Beneath Iceland’s largest glacier

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Kate Friend: Beneath Iceland’s largest glacier

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Kate Friend: Beneath Iceland’s largest glacier

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Kate Friend: Beneath Iceland’s largest glacier