In this work, I am exploring my experience on Flatey, an island on Breidafjördur Bay, off the coast of Iceland. When my husband, my daughter Shammiel, and I arrived, we greatly increased the population of the remote island. Under these circumstances, I found that I was able only to make direct observations with what was around me.
A key part of this trip for us was trying to overcome our feelings of isolation and foreignness by exploring the island’s natural habitat. The rocks on the shores of Flatey were covered with thick and textured accumulations of a type of algae that I had never seen before. The colors and the immensity of these piles were overwhelming. They were aesthetically beautiful, yet I couldn’t explore the shores nor go swimming without stepping in and around the vegetation. This limitation enhanced my internal sensation of being confined; yet, like the algae, I cannot be connected to any one place. Algae have holdfasts that serve as temporary anchors but are not necessary for attaining nutrients. It is common for algae to hold on to each other like refugees, to facilitate ocean travel. My fascination with the algae increased as I also identified with their lack of roots.
Several of the images were taken in Port Townsend, Washington located on the northeast tip of the Olympic Peninsula on Puget Sound. They were taken during my residency at Centrum. While there, I discovered that the waters in Port Townsend were also covered with very intriguing algae. I thought it was interesting that the algae had seemingly followed me from Iceland to Washington.