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Everyone’s heard of Pompeii, the ancient city destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius. Far less famous, but no less amazing, is the tiny Icelandic town of Vestmannaeyjar, known as the “Pompeii of the North.” On January 23, 1973, a fissure ripped the island of Heimaey open, releasing a fountain of lava. Lava and ash and debris rained down on the town and surrounding countryside, destroying nearly 400 buildings and forcing everyone to flee for months.
Peter Holliday first visited Vestmannaeyjar while touring Iceland in the summer of 2014. “I immediately became fascinated by the island’s stark landscape as the product of an ongoing geological violence that originates from deep within our planet,” he says. The remarkable story inspired him to return in January, 2015, to photograph the island and the people who live there.
The gorgeous photos in Where The Land Rises are remote and ethereal, and feel a bit melancholy even if you don’t know the story of what happened there. They convey the vast desolation of a tiny island in a vast sea, and the quiet of the snowy landscape. […]