“If there is a place to believe in magic, then Iceland must be that place,” says Bego Antón (b. 1983, Spain) about the Nordic island where more than half of the people believe in the existence of elves, trolls, fairies and monsters. Rather than simply document the gorgeous Icelandic scenery, Antón decided to combine mysterious landscapes with portraits of shamans, witches and scientists. This turns her book The Earth is Only a Little Dust Under our Feet into a magical place of itself, making it easy to believe that it’s inhabited by wondrous creatures.
Are we sure we’re able to see everything with only our five senses; couldn’t there be more dimensions than we know of? The magical beings supposedly are everywhere, living together with humans and even talking to them. Antón spoke to countless people who have not only seen fairies or unicorns, but have had meaningful interactions with them. The Icelanders take their creatures very seriously: children are not allowed to throw rocks, because they might accidentally hit an elf.
Antón’s portraits are real and surreal at the same time, as if they were taken in a state of half-sleep. When shaman Nina tells her about her connection to a goddess riding a swan, she portrays her covered in feathers; people capable of seeing auras are covered in beautiful colours.
A scientist told Antón that the Icelandic people are exposed to strong geomagnetic activities, and this causes their openness to altered perception. No matter if it’s reality or fantasy, however, as Antón easily takes us into this magical world, and we’re open to the illusion for as long as we go through the book.