Photographer Kirstin Vang discusses how the magic of her homeland, The Faroe Islands, continues to inspire and enthral her as she explores her new found love of photography.
Do you feel that coming from somewhere with such stark beauty as the Faroe Islands has had an impact on you becoming a photographer?
Yes! It’s funny how we often tend to be too blind to see the beauty that’s right in front of us. That’s kind of the story of me growing up on the Faroe Islands – how could I know that this place was something special? It wasn’t until I got older, went abroad and started exploring other countries, that I realised how extraordinary this remote group of islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean actually is. Every time I met travellers on the Faroes, I was always struck by the fascination these people had for the country. They made me see things that I never had seen before, or never thought of it as anything special. These people were typically photographers and inspired me to start taking photos. I wanted to see what they saw too. And that’s how I got hooked on photography, and found that my backyard was the perfect place to start. All of this has happened within a year or two and I just got my first camera seven months ago, so I wouldn’t call myself a photographer. I just found out that there is something really satisfying in chasing beautiful scenery and capturing great light. There is no denying it; the Faroes are my main source of inspiration and the place I love photographing the most.
What makes the Faroe Islands so special to you?
I’m often amazed by how fast the weather and conditions change here on the islands. It can be difficult to follow what’s going on. It changes all the time; you can experience all four seasons in one day, and nothing is ever guaranteed. The result of this is that you realise the need to enjoy life now and to really live in the moment. Embrace the little glimpse of sun and the summer evenings, where the weather allows you to climb the mountain peak you wanted to do for so long. The strong wind, the wind that almost blows you down, makes you feel so small compared to nature’s strong forces. The rough weather stirs up the sea and makes you want to stay inside and enjoy the warmth.
Do you have a particular style or type of photography you are drawn to?
I’m still figuring out my own style, but I try as far as possible to keep it personal. Of course, the cold and rough weather here sets its traces on the photos. This means I can take many moody photos, but I also like to shoot the good weather in summer here too, with green grass and sunshine!
Where are your favourite places to shoot?
I’m not a big fan of the famous touristy spots. My favourite places to shoot are the ones where I need to put an effort in to reach them. Like hiking up mountains I’ve never been to before and seeing if I can create something new, hopefully inspiring others to do so too.
Is there one kind of landscape you will always choose to photograph above others?
Ocean, waterfalls and lakes! On the Faroe Islands you are never more than 5 km away from the ocean. We’ve got 300 days of rain each year, which means a lot of water! Growing up here has given me a tight bond to rivers and the ocean. I find it enchanting and I can spend hours just staring out at the waves, or watching how the water runs down the stream. My favourite time of day is when the sun touches the ocean; sunrise and sunset are always beautiful.
Do you have a favourite part of the Faroe Islands you will always return to?
My mum is born and raised on the island of Vágar and every summer I used to visit my grandparents and cousins on the island. We would go camping by the lake where the waterfall Bøsdalafossur is located. We would swim in the lake, fish for trout, make fires and hike around the mountains. We would often go up to the cliff Trælanípa. At that point it wasn’t yet discovered by tourists, so we were mostly alone. Little did I know that it would become the most famous spot on the Faroes. There are a lot of good memories attached to the whole area around the lakes on the island, and somehow they are always the part that I return to when I’m home, it is the area I find the most beautiful.
What kinds of feelings and emotions do you aim to inspire in people when they view your photographs?
I hope to inspire people to go out and explore on their own and to find the beauty around them. I believe that beauty is to be found in every corner of this world, it just comes in different shapes.