Meditate on the Raw Beauty of the World’s Most Remote Locations

“My personal projects are a visual journal; they are a glimpse into my own imagination and creative development. These moments of quiet contemplation are where some of my most distinctive work originates.”

– Jan Erik Waider


A seasoned traveller in the northern Europe, Hamburg-based photographer Jan Erik Waider has developed a distinct and original style of landscape photography.

With soft, silver tones, Jan’s images capture a spectrum of representation our planet’s northern regions, bringing the viewer into tangible proximity to both the complete silence yet also the awe-inspiring natural power that define such places.


We had a chat with the photographer in the warm.

THE PLUS: When did you decide to devote your photography projects to landscapes of remote places?
Jan Erik Waider:
That was more of a slow process, but I have felt drawn to the Nordic countries like Iceland, Norway or Greenland. Both the climate, as well as the vast emptiness felt intriguing. It’s also the absence of noise in some areas that really fascinated me – it is something so rare nowadays. And I’ve always tried to find my own perspectives and places that haven’t been photographed a million times before. I want to tell the story of something new – or at least offer a new visual interpretation of something.


TP: How often do you go on trips for your landscapes?
I spend half of each year traveling through the Nordic countries usually with my off-road vehicle and caravan. My approach is all about slow, conscious travel. A good landscape photo takes patience, especially in the north, with its rugged terrain and highly unpredictable weather.

TP: What attracts you to rawness?
Exploring the beauty of those raw (and often cold) landscapes became a form of meditation for me, and photography a way to preserve those fleeting memories. My personal projects are a visual journal; they are a glimpse into my own imagination and creative development. These moments of quiet contemplation are where some of my most distinctive work originates. I love Hamburg and it is a wonderful base for me, but I need the variety of travelling to these silent places for my own balance.


TP: You good at handling the cold? What’s it like shooting in such tough weather conditions?
Most photos make it look like it was colder than it actually was. But especially in Iceland you have more problems with wind and rain – that’s something you have to get used to and find your own way of working around with. I really like the cold, though, and even Germany is too warm for me in the summer. That’s why I usually spend these months in Scandinavia. But having solid gear, clothing and a capable car is definitely important and makes a lot of projects easier.


TP: What’s the most challenging place you’ve been to?
Often the most adventurous-sounding places weren’t the most challenging. I’ve spent a total of almost two years in Iceland and during a lot of spontaneous trips by car or especially ATV, I sometimes ended up in situations that were very challenging. Like getting the car stuck at remote places or almost drowning my ATV in a glacier river in the middle of nowhere. You need a lot of preparation but not even the best planning can save you from certain surprises. And since I like to travel alone, those challenges can also get dangerous if you don’t know what to do or where to get help, especially when you love those remote places. But luckily, no serious accidents have happened during my last ten years of travelling.


TP: Summer’s just about done with – what now?
Well, I just spent the whole summer in Norway and will go back there on a short trip in late October, re-visiting some of my most favourite glaciers with my new drone. And after that it’s up to Svalbard again for a true winter experience and also Isle of Skye, Scotland.