Axiom and Simulation by Mark Dorf in Skagaströnd, Iceland

The grandeur of Iceland can be quite intense, and it is seemingly around each and every corner — this photo was made just twenty minutes into the mainland of the peninsula that Skagaströnd is on near another village called Sauðárkrókur. I came to Iceland because the series that this photograph was made for, Axiom & Simulation, uses the landscape quite directly.  But as I began to make the work, I found that I needed to introduce something that really spoke to the severe power of the planet and landscape itself so that I could then translate the natural forms into ones that are found in our more analytical and fabricated layers of reality to show the power that we have as a global species to manipulate and create — Iceland seemed to be the perfect area since it is so full of violent and diverse geographical features and intense beauty.

Name:Mark Dorf

Place you live: Brooklyn, NY but currently Skagaströnd, Iceland

Place your photo was taken: Near Sauðárkrókur, Iceland

Can you sum up Skagaströnd, Iceland? Skagaströnd is a small fishing village situated on the north western coast of Iceland of around 450 people. Despite its small size there is quite a lot of unique flavor to be had here. They broadcast the only country music station in Iceland from the “Kuntry Bær”, they have a marine biology research center, and there is the Nes Artist Residency here as well which is in fact where I am currently staying.


Tell us about your new photography project Axiom & Simulation: Axiom & Simulation examines the ways in which humans quantify and explore our surroundings by comparing artistic, scientific, and digital realism. As a developed global culture, we are constantly transforming physical space and objects into abstract non-physical thought to gain a greater understanding of composition and the inner workings of our surroundings. These transformations often take the form of mathematical or scientific interpretation. As a result of these changes, we can misinterpret or even lose all reference to the source: when the calculated representation is compared to its real counterpart, an arbitrary and disconnected relationship is created in which there is very little or no physical or visual connection resulting in questions of definition. Take for example a three-dimensional rendering of a mountainside. While observing the rendering, it holds a similar form to what we see in nature but has no physical connection to reality– it is merely a file on a computer that has no mass and only holds likeness to a memory. When translating the rendering into binary code, we see just 1’s and 0’s – a file creating the representation from a language composed of only two elements that have no grounding in the natural world. After all of these transformations, a new reality is created – one without an original referent, a copy with no absolute source. When observing these simulations and interpretations of our landscape within a single context or picture plane, ideas of accuracy, futility, and original experience arise.

Occupation: Freelancer and Artist

Preoccupation: Chess

A perfect day in Iceland? A cool summer evening when the sun is finally setting late at night out on the cliffs to the west of the village

If someone was visiting, what must they do? Climb the mountain that sits behind the village – Spökunfell

A perfect meal in Iceland? Some fresh Salmon pan seared in your own kitchen — nothing beats the fresh fish in Iceland.

What is the best thing about your spot? Any and all of the landscape that is at your fingertips

What is the worst? Fermented Shark… just not my kind of flavor… haha

A little known fact about where you live? We have an Icelandic Country music festival at the end of every summer to celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of Winter.

Where is your favorite place in the world? Western Fjörds of Iceland

Who are three of your favorite photographers? Alison DaviesKahn + SelesnickBrian Ulrich