Iceland is the land of the long vista. Outside of Reykjavik, where about 135,000 of the 376,000 human inhabitants live, it is expansive view after expansive view. This is just out of the bus window on the way into Reykjavik from the airport (the long light is legit—this was honing in on a 10:45 pm sunset).
I’m into the long vista. It is like soulbathing, which I prefer to sunbathing. Pausing for a second in order to be in the presence of, awash in something—a view, a vista—is an intentional move. To still one's self in service of taking in something else is a choice. Taking photographs can be a way of becoming a more active noticer, bringing attention and one's own lens into relationship with that something, albeit while keeping it at somewhat of an arm's length.
Iceland is covered with Angelica, an herb that grows wild and tall, whose flowers have an architectural and rioting beauty that I love.
Angelica became a way to focus my eye amidst all of that expansiveness; taking pictures of it a way to get to know it more intimately, to engage from different angles and perspectives. Where our relationship got more animated and more intimate, where Angelica became more of a collaborator than a pretty thing to be photographed, was when I started to bring more of myself into the mix through my own particular version of play. What does Angelica taste like? Does it have good-for-you properties? What other flowers or herbs or colors are around that we might invite in? Now we were in a creative dance, looking for unexpected combinations and grooves that might delight, enhance, or surprise. “I’ve come up with a new flavor,” I texted Anne, “Honey Angel Love. Honeydew melon + Angelica + Clover!”
I don’t know if this flavor will become an Urban Pharm shrub flavor, but that’s not the point. The presence and play and participation—the bringing of one's self to the party with what's right around you with a sense of creativity and appreciation—is something Urban Pharm hopes to invite and embody. We hope you RSVP yes!