In her remote corner of Iceland, photographer Marzena Skubatz makes her home in a sheep farm and weather station.
She has no mobile phone reception, and her food arrives by boat. As a vegetarian in a community whose main source of food is meat and fish, she survives mostly on sweet potatoes and salad. When the wintertime draws to a close, she sees the animals birth their young.
“It is a quiet place surrounded by the sea,” the artist says. She lives for part of the year in Germany, but something always brings her back to Iceland.
Two thirds of Icelandic the population lives in Reykjavik and its surroundings, Skubatz explains, but her personal Iceland is not the Iceland in the tourist books. It’s out of the way, and life on the farm is strenuous and demanding, especially in the summer. “We do not run any touristic businesses,” she explains, “There is no time for that.”
The photographer spent her childhood on a farm in Poland, and in some ways, her arrival in Iceland has been a homecoming away from home. She grows sad when she goes for extended periods of time without contact with animals.
She carries with her the memory of the day an infant whale passed beneath her little fishing boat, its pale white underside exposed. “I think she was playing with us,” Skubatz writes, “It was a very emotional experience that I will never forget.”
Winter in Iceland is bitterly cold, and summer is wild and fickle. As of the time of this writing, Skubatz is once again en route to Iceland, where she leaves a piece of herself every time she goes.
Follow Skubatz on Instagram.
All images © Marzena Skubatz