Funding to be used for research travel to prepare 3-6 months stay, stakeholder meetings with tourism industry & environmental groups, establishing cooperation contacts with publisher & job search to finance the longer stay, which is necessary to show development in the photos for the envisaged book.
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Team

Tobias Seeliger

Creator
Photographer from Berlin
  • Photojournalism
  • art photographer

Nancy Schumann

  • translator
  • Proofreader

Further Information

This project finances the preliminary research, stakeholder contact and travel required to bring the following photography book to life.

Tourism - Iceland's curse or a new blessing?
The Impact of Tourism on Iceland

Photography by Tobias Seeliger

Synopsis: book / photo collection

Subject: Iceland - travel and the effectsof (mass-) tourism (photo documentary / travel photography / travel report)

Layout: from 30 x 23 cm, landscape, largescale photographs (b&w/full colour), accompanying text, about 120 pages

Languages: German / English / Icelandic

Iceland is the latest trend. The land of volcanos, glaciers and fjords may be the last place in Europe for adventure and adventure seekers. Tourists enjoy a freedom here that’s long extinct in other countries. It’s possible to go almost everywhere, see and climb just about everything. Yet: the country and its landscape are under threat!

It’s no surprise that a country with little more than 300,000 citizens can’t remain unaffected by its 1.7 million visitors (2016). However, tourism is Iceland’s number one source of income. Apart from fishing, the second largest industry, there isn’t much in the small country to boost its economy. There’s rarely an Icelander who doesn’t profit from the tourist industry. They might rent out rooms or small apartments, even one’s car, or offer guided tours around the country. Tourism is (for the moment) locally organised. Everybody wins.

Now however, large tour operators and tourism enterprises push onto the island of volcanos. Iceland was the holiday trend in 2016 and it’s not yet a mass tourism developed country. Real profits are possible here. The change is tangible as well as visible: new hotels and streets are built everywhere. For the moment, the atmosphere is still full of optimism. Reykjavik in particular is currently a reminder of East Berlin shortly after the fall of the wall. Much freedom, much creativity and an incredible amount of energy that wants to make a success oft his opportunity.

Conflicts are becoming visible and gain in significance. The environment with its fragile ecosystem is particularly affected. On the one hand, Icelanders know very well that they depend on tourism, but on the other hand there’s the growing realisation that mass tourism does more harm than good to the country’s environment. The first few restrictions are being imposed on tourists, backpackers and adventure seekers. Regulations are being drawn up. The freedom to just climb up a volcano won’t be available to tourists for much longer… The question is who will benefit from these new regulations and just how far reaching will these actually be?

These rapid developments also have social implications. Will the ‘average Icelander’ benefit from the boom? The price of land is sky rocketing, the cost of living is increasing. Tourists conquer the streets. Everywhere one looks there are building and renovation works, whole districts disappear and many locals are pushed out of their neighbourhoods. Reykjavik’s city centre is practically one large hotel. (By comparison, the displacement from Berlin’s city centre happened like a "delicate wash with added super-softness conditioner.”) Rural exodus is another serious topic. Many Icelanders have had enough of all the tourists and their impertinent demand to photograph everything and everybody looking even remotely Icelandic.

Finally, what many tourists bring to the country is carelessness and an over estimation of their own abilities when they run into their would-be adventures unprepared and often end up in a live-threatening situation, which leads to the country’s latest trend: barriers, warning- and prohibitive signs.

My photo collection The Impact of Tourism on Iceland aims to document all these conflicts: between greed and economic necessity, destruction and conservation of nature, optimism and fear of social isolation, in photographs. Thus showing a beautiful country in transition: landscape photography that illustrates the effects of mass tourism, cityscape images of change, documentary photographs that reflect the specific human, societal and social aspect of changes in Iceland. Short texts will accompany the photographs.

The country faces radical changes - Icelanders will have to walk a fine line.

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In Progress

This project has been successfully funded and is now executing.

€4,150

raised of €4,000 goal.

0

days to go.

104% FUNDED
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