“Betula Seasons” by Elías Arnar
The “Betula Seasons” project is a photographic series of the Downy Birch tree of Iceland transitioning throughout all four seasons. The idea was born from a geographical approach about the importance of this particular species of tree to Iceland in historical, cultural and environmental context.
The Betula pubescens is the only native tree in Iceland that can form natural forests, usually characterised by high biodiversity and productivity.
Sources have indicated that the tree served as the backbone to peoples lives during the settlement, as it was used as building material for all sorts of crafts.
This is, of course, considered to be an unsustainable extract off a very fragile resource, but one can’t help to wonder if the history and cultural heritage of Iceland would be the same if not for these actions.
Elías Arnar is a freelance photographer, park ranger and geography student from Iceland. His work focuses primarily on the geographical landscape, aiming to represent a connection between people and nature in order to promote awareness about climate change, environmental issues and outdoor activities. A key aspect of his work is engaging with a philosophical approach to geographical phenomenons, challenging dominant ideas about the natural world, in hope of changing them.
The Betula Seasons project is a part of that approach. By showcasing the Downy Birch throughout the ever changing climate of the four seasons in Iceland, we can get people to view the simple, unnoticed part of the Icelandic nature through the eyes of a geographical photographer.