Herd In Iceland

November 16 2014

As colder temperatures start to stick around, our attitudes shift to what winter comes to mean: hot cocoa, wool sweaters, bottomless slush puddles and piling logs in a fireplace. To the minds of many, a place that seems locked in eternal winter (and must really pile on the wool sweaters) is the country of Iceland. In reality, Iceland experiences seasons, but its craggy mountains, natural hot springs, and massive glaciers inspire a chill.

The Icelandic people have unique cultural traditions thanks to being an island nation, and photographer and filmographer Lindsay Blatt captured one of their most visually stunning. Blatt’s documentary “Herd In Iceland” is the result of a two-year project that documents the annual herding of wild horses. What’s even more impressive is that Blatt balanced this project with her full-time job as a Photo Editor at the New York Times.

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Isolated by the ocean, Iceland’s wild horse population is a pure breed. For over 1000 years, Icelandic law has made importing horses illegal. Throughout the summer months, these horses roam wild in the highlands and raise their foals. Every September, local farmers round them up and guide them across the craggy terrain towards a reunion with their owners. People who live in more urban areas even travel out to participate in the yearly tradition. Fully ingrained into the soul of the country regardless of personal background, this ritual exemplifies the absorbing spirit of Icelandic culture.

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Blatt produced the film entirely through her own production company Archerfish Productions. Originally earning a BFA in Photography from the Pratt Institute, she specializes in large format environmental portraiture and still-life. Before the New York Times, Blatt has worked professionally for the likes of Newsweek, Vogue, and UNICEF, in addition to balancing her personal work.

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“Herd In Iceland” is airing on PBS around the U.S., and for those curious about when it’s airing near them, the schedule is available here. It’s also available on DVD or digital download, and is still traveling the festival circuit.

Follow Lindsay Blatt on Twitter and Instagram, and check out any other tidbits at the film’s website.


Austin Bryant is a freelance writer based in Boston, MA. Follow him on Instagram.