Adventures in Iceland: Tessuti A/W18 Shoot Diary

Cat Lewis - 25/10/2018

I’ll be honest — organising 9 adults to get up at 3AM and board a flight to Reykjavik, Iceland, was probably the most challenging, stressful thing I’ve had to do in my career so far. 

(Closely followed by ensuring they all had coats, suitable walking boots, and travel adaptors.)

Fortunately — that stress was totally worth it. 

Arriving in Reykjavik, we were greeted with sideways rain and what felt like 80mph winds — but that wasn’t going to stop us, with only three days to shoot as much content as we could muster. Besides, we shot Tessuti’s Spring campaign in actual snow… so what’s a little rain, right?

Our first job was collecting the cars, before heading to meet our model, influencer and Reyjavik guide, Joe Shutter, at his creative studio, The Space. 

Armed with hot coffee, we started the shoot prep. Everywhere you looked there were clothes, hangers, steamers and equipment. Once done, we headed out for the first time. 

First stop? The docks and Harpa Concert Hall of Reykjavik. The concert hall features an incredible coloured glass facade, based on the basalt landscape of Iceland. 

Once outside, we made the rookie error of trying to put up and use an umbrella, resulting in an epic fail — which should give you an idea of what the weather was like. 

Banking our first batch of shots, we headed off to the hotel, located an hour’s drive away in the region of Hella. Despite feeling as though it was in the middle of nowhere, the hotel was gorgeous. Once fed, and having sampled a few hot tubs and saunas, we went to bed — with another early start looming ahead of us. 

 

My wakeup call was 5AM, summoning me for make-up prep with Joe and our female model and influencer, ASA. We grabbed breakfast, then headed out to our convoy of Land Rovers. There’s actually nothing quite like seeing 5 Land Rovers lined up, ready to smash the day. Off we went.

Our first location for day 2 was Stora Dimon. Requiring a steep hike up to its summit, I’ll admit this was a struggle, but the view was incredible — looking out over black sands for miles. I’ll never forget that. After hiking back down, we headed to The River Canyon. This came with its own set of challenges, including carrying heavy equipment and outfits over extremely slippery stepping stones, but once we were deep into the Canyon, it’s actually difficult to put into words how stunning it was. 

After The Canyon, we headed to ‘The Road’. Yep, that’s what it’s called. Not just any road, The Road. Once you arrive there, you can see why. The views were just something else. 

Tired and hungry, we headed back to the hotel — and after one (well deserved) drink, retired to bed. 

Finally, our last day on shoot arrived. Early wake-up again for prep and breakfast, and before we knew it we were off out again in our convoy. Arriving in Dyrholaey, the weather was dry and bright, so we made the most out of the location as we could. Following that, we stopped at Kvernufoss — a stunning waterfall. Sadly, we couldn’t stay there long, because we had a private glacier walk scheduled (yep!) 

Grabbing hot drinks and food on the way, we headed to the glacier… where I was allowed to drive one of the 4 x 4’s, called Foxy. That’s something I can now tick off my bucket list. Arriving at the glacier, we were introduced to our new guide — Holt. We got kitted up in very attractive harnesses and crampons… and were even trusted with an axe! 

After a 30 minute hike, we reached the top of the glazier — where we took in an absolutely stunning view, drank water from the natural stream, and shot some of the most insane photographs and footage of the entire shoot (including drones!)

As the sun began to set, we moved down into an ice cave. Holt actually had to dig us some steps so we could get down safely, and from there, we began to take the last shots of the day, and our trip. 

After a short hike back, we re-assembled the Land Rover convoy and headed back to the hotel. Like that, the shoot was done. 

We had an incredible team out there who made everything possible, and who I can’t thank enough. This will certainly be an experience I will never forget.

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