Photoessay: last of the Icelandic singles

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I have a slightly embarrassing confession to make: there are images that I can’t let go of, but probably should. They are remnants from my trip to Iceland nearly a year ago, but standalones that really didn’t fit in with any of the other series. It’s a sort of artefact of the site setup that posting single images is tricky because it breaks pattern too much unless there’s a whole thought catalog to go with it; the unfortunate result is that I’ve got a whole graveyard folder of images that work independently, but can’t really be curated into a photoessay or series. Some find life again as featured images, others land up illustrating specific posts, and yet others still – like this one – are held together tenuously enough by some rather weak thread that perhaps I can still post them. I admit it: I couldn’t curate these anywhere, nor could I let them go, but there’s still some emotional attachment. I’m sure somebody will use it to beat me over the head to remind me of curation discipline, and I’d probably deserve it. In the meantime…MT

Shot with the Hasselblad X1D Field Kit and processed with PS Workflow III.

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Ultraprints from this series are available on request here


More info on Hasselblad cameras and lenses can be found here.


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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | 2012 onwards unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved


  1. Kristian Wannebo says:

    “.. embarrassing confession ..”
    What’s wrong with standalones?
    ( .. considering photography as an art .. )

    And a standalone must be strong enough on its own, in a series a slightly weaker photo finds strength through the story.

    Great photos all, although
    #2, 3, 7 & 9
    are my favourites.

  2. Lovely images as always. Perhaps the occasional singles post could be part of the pattern?

    • Thanks – oddly enough I don’t always have enough singles to make a whole bunch of them! I think of it as a sort of arrangement by spacing: a related series has little spacing between points so you can follow it easily – i.e. a line; a bunch of singles has to be randomly distributed across a 2D plane and not clumped…

  3. Charles Gates says:

    Thank you for sharing these images! I’ve been following your posts for some years now, but
    this is the first time I’ve been moved to comment. So you’ve changed me from a lurker to a participant. Thanks again for what you do and share.

  4. I can absolutely understand why you didn’t want to let these photographs go! I’d be hard pressed to pick my favorite; it’d probably have to be the one about half-way through where the light brushes the tops of the golden-leafed trees.
    As an amateur, I have no pressure other than my desire to improve, but I still need to remember from time to time that there’s not much point if I stop finding joy in photography. Maybe this series is a good reminder that even disciplined professionals deserve to be amateurs from time to time? Amateur in the original sense of doing it for the love of the photograph.
    Anyways, thank you for posting!

    • Thanks Sean. I discussed this very idea in the past – – being an amateur in the true definition of the term isn’t operating at a lower skill level; it’s doing something for the love of it and not having the pressure of producing to the expectations of a client other than yourself. Which is the very best possible thing if you’re aiming to make a different image that satisfies the creator first and foremost…

  5. Tight curation to multi-photo sets tends to suppress the kind of playfulness that’s random and one-off almost by definition. I think there’s a lot of that in these images (not that they’re not also serious). I like it, even at the expense of coherence.

    • Agreed – you still have a high level commonality in the theme, but the individual images have a little ‘plot twist’ that prevents them from being directly causal…

  6. Hello Ming !
    Excellent images.

  7. These are lovely!

  8. excellent!!!

  9. Perhaps…you can write, someday, a post about self curation…the process…series versus single photos…maybe you wrote about it before?

    • Not a bad idea, thanks. In a nutshell though it’s simply whether there is a narrative sequence formed by the images, or if they are really unrelated other than by sharing a very broad theme.

      • In my case I fight in this. It connected with the philosophy (motivation) of taking the photo. When I go shooting, which is on almost dailly basis, I have no particular idea of a project. Just going to places I find motivating and photogenic for me. And I en up with lots of photos, which I struggle to connect into a series afterwards. They are related, they could possible be a project, but they are just a pile of photos….never ending stream of photos posted on the Internet…

  10. Love your images!!

  11. Stunning first two images, Ming. Really love them.

  12. astonishing…from a astonished seasoned person…

  13. Dimitris says:

    Definitely NOT beating you over the head. These are good!
    Did you notice the eyes in the first one?

  14. Beaux paysages.
    ça fait rêver !

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