Icelandic based photographer Ben Simon Rehn
Icelandic based German photographer Ben Simon Rehn is one that should not be missed. His photography specialises in wildlife and landscapes of the artic and hostile regions of the planet, and he’s taken some mind-blowing images showing us parts of our planet often not seen before. Not surprisingly, Ben has a strong social media following, and we´re happy to say that he´s using his platform not only for his own benefit, but also to spread awareness of our current environmental issues.
Before becoming a photographer Ben was a high performance athlete and worked with tourism around Austria and Iceland, he is also a keen off-road driver, needless to say, Ben knows his way around. Photography has been his main profession for more than a year now and his clients include prestigious brands such as Olympus, Jeep and Einstök, to mention a few.
“I visualise landscapes, humans and merchandise in a unique way with the objective to let your images shine out. Besides I also want to spread awareness throughout my work about environmental issues and mankind impact on our planet and wildlife.”
Tell us about your journey to photography.
I am a self-taught photographer and it all started in Iceland. While working long time in tourism I slowly discovered my interest in capturing the beautiful Icelandic landscapes. Influenced by tourists with cameras and friends around me I bought my first camera in 2015. In the beginning I was working full time and in my free time being out taking photos and learning how everything works. A kind of intense time but I managed to learn the basics pretty fast and could develop my skills from there ever since.
What equipment to you use?
I shoot on full frame cameras and lenses between 14mm and 500mm. Gear is essential but what is more important is what you can do with your camera, you are still the person that presses the shutter in the end.
Have you seen a change in our environment since starting out as a photographer?
Yes, I have definitely seen changes since I started to take photos and also from the time before. What I see are less and less wild animals and in particular insects seem to be drastically receding in the last years. In Iceland it is especially the glaciers underlying massive shrinking throughout the warmer climate. Also the weather and seasons seem to be less predictable than in former years.
What do you do to contribute to a healthier planet?
I am vegetarian and try to avoid unnecessary food- or purchases in general. Definitely living more minimalistic than a few years back and I think everyone has to do his/her part in this. The key I think is to waiver and it does not need to be radical in all terms.
How did you end up in Iceland?
It was after my master studies, I just wanted to live and work in another country for a while, so I sent out some applications for volunteer services in Europe. And to be honest after that it was just coincidence and I ended up as a volunteer in a very cool place in the Icelandic mountains. Later they hired me and since then I am on this beautiful island.
What has been the biggest change relocating to Iceland?
Well it was for sure a big change to live more remote than I have ever before but also very exciting. It is the freedom, vastness and pure beauty of this country that also altered me as a person. I am a lot more aware of what is going on around me and in nature than I used to be.
What is your daily routine?
Pretty much waking up, drinking a coffee, some breakfast, scrolling through some emails and then work on projects and assignments or just go out in nature and see what the day has to offer. In some random moments sometimes you can capture great photos. But as all a good photo takes time, so I start with being out there a lot first.
Tell us about your background as an athlete.
Well I was a high performance athlete in Track and Field my whole youth. So everyday, I was mostly going to school and then training and competitions on many weekends.
What has been your most memorable experience?
Most memorable as on athlete were for sure the competitions at the German championships every year. There was one run in particular were I really felt to be in the flow state. You know the moment when you focus 100% on what you are doing and your body and mind just performs.
What are your Icelandic recommendations on what to see and do when next visiting Iceland?
I think if you are visiting Iceland the first time in your life you should make a slight route plan and then just drive one time around the island without having specific locations in mind. You will see most of the famous places anyway and also focus maybe a little more on what interests you. There is just so much more to see than all the places we already know for example via social media.
“In the last 30 years more than 75% of the Arctic sea ice has vanished.
It is only a matter of time until the North Pole will remain completely ice free in the summer.
With the retreating white ice surface, that normally reflects 80% of the radiation from the sun straight back into space, the reflecting effect on an open ocean is reduced to 10% causing a much faster water warming.
As nice as it looks here, the Arctic is in danger and we need to look into new solutions to prevent global warming, for example actively remove carbon with new technologies which yet need to be improved and developed.”
From “A farewell to Ice” Peter Wadhams.
To see more of Ben and his fantastic work, go to www.bensimonrehn.com