Mike Seehagel


Mike Seehagel lifestyle and commercial photographer, living in Iceland for three months. 

Animal Farm

I always find it pretty interesting to see where things come from. Food, clothes, a hat, whatever it is, it always gives me a different form of appreciation after seeing the process behind the final product. Especially when the final product comes from, or is, an animal. Often times I don't necessarily enjoy the process because it seems cruel, looks harsh, or is a lot to take in visually and mentally, but I almost prefer for it to make me uncomfortable. It's too easy to take things for granted and I think it's important to get a bit of a reality check sometimes. To see the other side to remember what exactly goes into the food I eat, or the clothes I wear. It's a good thing to think about. 

Today we visited a traditional Icelandic farm to watch them shear sheep. 

Now all of that sounds a bit dramatic, and I am in no way stating that the visit to the farm was a negative experience. In fact, for me it was a very positive experience (I also got free coffee, and free testicles to snack on). I love seeing people live off of the land, and make a life for themselves that is so different from my own. I mean, I take photos and sit at a desk drinking coffee and animating for a living, so pretty much anything that requires some physical labour is pretty different from that. Giving haircuts to 240 heavy sheep looks like pretty hard work. 

I also find the relationship between people and animals very interesting. I know a lot of bad stuff and unethical treatment goes on out there and I'm not really going to speak to that right now, but thinking back on history and how animals have helped people survive and get to this exact moment in time, is honestly really fascinating. Everything from early settlers relying on the meat and pelts to survive, to Lassie telling us Timmy fell down the well. We wouldn't have made it this far without their help, and even though that all feels pretty distant from my own life, I still don't want to forget that. 

Whether or not we still need to be doing certain things now is up for debate I suppose, but I for one am very thankful that in my own life I have never had to climb inside of a dead horse to survive a single winters night. I have very little to complain about.  

This was by far the warmest (and least windy, which makes a huge difference) day we have had in Iceland so far, and it was good to spend some time outside with everyone from the residency. I'm going to be out traveling around Iceland for a few of the other group trips, so it was nice to be able to make it to the first activity everyone was doing this month.

Post shearing, we went in the farm house for a coffee, listened to the owners tell us stories of living in Iceland, snacked on some blood sausage, pickled liver and sheep testicles, and called it a day.

The rest of the week will be spent on the road visiting Reykjavík and the Southern coast of Iceland. I expect less snow, more wind, waterfalls, and a lot of gas station hotdogs (hopefully testicle-less, but probably not).   

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