A few months ago, I posted some photos from the beginning of my trip to Iceland last summer. I really hadn’t planned on posting any more from that trip until I had finished posting more photos from my trip to Iceland in 2013 (and I do indeed have more).
However, I will break with that plan today to post and write about another photo from the 2014 trip. That’s because I found out today that one of them (yes, the one at the top here) has just been published by the French magazine PHOTO in its annual contest issue. You may recall that I wrote about a year ago (here) that one of my photos had been included in the contest issue after a six year absence, so it’s gratifying that I was able to get in a second year in a row, and for the seventh time since 1999. (You can see a post about my other selections here.)
Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of the magazine as it was just published in France and it normally takes a couple of months to reach the US. Before I forget, I should mention that my friends Dave Levingston and Gary Mitchell had photos included too, so it’s nice to have some good company.
Here is a photo of the page with my image on it as well as that of my friend Dave (the one in color with all of the greenery around the model).
So, how difficult it is to be included in this contest issue? Well, the magazine folks claim that it’s the largest photo contest in the world (and the magazine is distributed worldwide) but only about 300 photos are printed in it out of the more than 50,000 they say that get submitted. That’s about two-thirds of one percent being selected, so the odds are pretty long. On the other hand, the Nude category may not get as many submissions as other categories, which may make the odds a bit better, but I still think that being selected is beating the odds.
On a potential down note, I’ve been informed that the ownership of the magazine has changed and that the magazine is being reformulated with a new editorial focus. I just hope that the contest will continue each year, as there aren’t that many photography magazines that are open-minded enough to show nudes, let alone have an entire category devoted to it.
Anyway, about the photo itself – yes, that is a nude model in a body of water with icebergs floating in it. The brave young lady is Rebecca Tun from England, who was kind enough to arrange the schedule of her trip to Iceland last summer so that she could work with me for a couple of days.
The location is the famous Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, into which icebergs break off from the glacier next to it and float in the water (sometimes for several years) before washing out to sea through a narrow channel. I had paid a visit to the lagoon the previous year, and though the weather didn’t allow for photographing nudes, I saw that it could be a great background for nude photographs.
Unfortunately, “famous” often means “crowded,” and in this case it was no different. Still, I noticed that the crowds did thin out when getting farther away from the tourist center, so I hoped that by walking away a good distance there would be enough privacy to photograph nudes.
This is what I tried with Rebecca, and eventually it worked. We found a spot on the shore of the lagoon that was hidden from view, and I proceeded to photograph Rebecca on the shore with the lagoon behind her. It was then that she told me that she wanted to go INTO the water!
Earlier that day, when photographing along the rim of a canyon, Rebecca had volunteered to walk out to a very precarious and dangerous looking spot on the rim. While it would have made for a fantastic image, it was just too dangerous a spot for her to try to reach, so I said no. Regarding getting into the water to model, I considered the risk. She had modeled for a few minutes on top of a small iceberg that had washed ashore near another glacier, and as the members of the Polar Bear Club in New York City survive taking the plunge into the icy waters of Coney Island every New Year’s Day, I decided to allow Rebecca to go in as long as she didn’t overdo it.
Adventurous as ever, Rebecca then told me that she wanted to swim out to one of the icebergs, but I decided to draw the line there. Venturing further away from the shoreline would have increased the likelihood of her being seen by other people, but more importantly, I would have been unable to help her if she became physically overcome by the cold and unable to swim back.
When she finally came ashore to dry off and warm up, I asked her how cold the water was and how difficult it was to be in it. Her response was that it was indeed cold, but that it wasn’t too difficult to take as it basically made her lower half numb. (Yes, I am indeed glad that I didn’t let her swim out to that iceberg.)
About Dave Rudin
Dave Rudin is a fine art photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. He specializes in art nude and travel photography, using black & white film and making silver gelatin prints in a darkroom.