Beneath the surface of the earth exists an isolated corridor detached from reality. Formed from an eruption of the Langjökull glacier in the year 930 AD, Víðgelmir lava cave is the biggest cave in all of Iceland. For months, I would take daily excursions into this gated off world guiding small groups of visitors deep within. At one and a half kilometers long, it would take over three hours to maneuver through the rocky hallways of the cave. Under the midnight sun of Iceland, Víðgelmir was the only true darkness I would know.—Bryan Martello
Working as a tour guide in Iceland, Boston-based photographer Bryan Martello balanced explorer with photographer—the lava cave he visited daily becoming the backdrop for much of his recent work. To help estimate where he was in the cave, Martello would establish milestones for himself, creating personal points of interest he could pick out among the natural forms. These are Martello’s visual markers in a world below, reminiscent of characters in Icelandic mythology—like the ice elves said to be living in the cave’s sea of stalagmites.