Travel photography by Andy Wasley: Iceland plane wreck at Sólheimasandur, Iceland.
Crashed US Navy DC-3, Sólheimasandur, Iceland.

This is a story of an air crash, wild beauty, film photography and selfies. It’s my recollection of a visit to the famous Iceland plane wreck site at Sólheimasandur – and of my view on the popularity of ‘abandoned’ places and the ubiquity of the selfie.

The story behind the Iceland plane wreck might already be roughly familiar to you. In November 1973 a small US Navy DC-3 transport aircraft ran out of fuel over southern Iceland, and ditched on the pristine black sand beach at Sólheimasandur. The wreck is still there – a weather-worn, graffiti-clad monument to Iceland’s inhospitable terrain.

I visited the Iceland plane wreck in 2016 during a two-week solo tour of the country via the ring road. It was my first ‘proper’ photography expedition; I’d been seduced by countless blog posts and travel stories pitching Iceland as a pristine wilderness: a place where I might find limitless solitude amid the glaciers and snow. For much of my trip, that’s precisely what I found – but not always. And the DC-3 wreck rings in my memory as an example of what can be a dispiriting experience at the hands of people who wield selfie sticks like rapiers.

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