Iceland, 2022

We have been wanting to visit Iceland for a long long time. We made plans and had a trip on the books for April 2020 but that trip was canceled due to the pandemic. Two years later and a lot has changed and we felt like it was a safe time to make the trip. So last month we visited Iceland for the first time.

Iceland is truly magical. Many Icelanders believe in elves. And after my first trip I can imagine why. So much rich history and a breathtaking landscape combined with the heavenly northern lights makes for a place of wonder. This first trip was clearly too short. We only had time to visit Reykjavík and a portion of the southern coast. The weather this time of year was also extreme. Blistering winds and rain, followed by blue sky and then hail. All within the hour. And then the cycle seemingly repeats throughout the day. But it was an amazing experience and I’m grateful for the opportunity.

Iceland, you are amazing. We will return.

(All color photographs made with a Hasselblad 503cw and Kodak Portra films. Black and white photographs made with a Leica MP and Kodak Tri-X 400. Developed and scanned by Richard Photo Lab in California.)

Keeping the internet weird

I very much enjoyed this recent interview with Matt Mullenweg (founder of Automatic, developer of WordPress and the most recent owner of my beloved Tumblr).

This particular response from Matt was my favorite part of the conversation

I will add that one of the most amazing things about the technological revolution was allowing for economics of abundance, not scarcity. Things get more valuable the more copies there are. We were talking about the positive flywheel of open-source earlier. WordPress gets more valuable the more free copies there are. Now we’re getting more things to introduce scarcity and the value of scarcity into the web, perhaps even programmatically with stuff like NFTs. The difference between what’s come before — from tens of thousands of humanity’s advances — is this idea that, in the world of bits instead of atoms, you and I don’t have a zero-sum way of prospering. We can both benefit from the same thing. We can perfectly copy that software and that actually enables entirely new business models that are pretty exciting. Or maybe that it’s not a business at all, which is okay. Everything doesn’t have to be for profit.

My love affair with the internet, online communities and the web came from this ethos. And it still does today.

Photography is not reality, and for me, it is not about capturing exactly what was there. This is one of the reasons why I love film. With different film stocks you get different looks to the work. Either it is a colour difference, or a contrast difference or perhaps both. I use Fuji Velvia for most of my landscape work. Fuji Velvia does not record accurate colour. More or less, each time I get the films back, it is like I am staring at images made in a parallel universe to the one I was photographing. I also love film grain because it ensures that the images aren’t hopefully considered to be ‘real’ or ‘verbatim’. Film has a tendency to roll off the highlights so they don’t hit a sudden wall. And lastly, I like to use film because I understand there will be a big disconnect between what I am seeing and what I am recording.

Bruce Percy

Anguilla, revisited

It’s impossible to get a feel for a place after just one visit.

And that was certainly true when it came to our experience with Anguilla. We made our first trip in 2016. It was a short visit and we were all much younger then. And we stayed in a big hotel and pretty much spent our days at the hotel pool and beach.

This time we rented a house for two weeks. It was away from the hotels. We rented a car and explored the island almost every day. Each beach and area of the island has something unique to offer. Each neighborhood has its own personality. A little bakery in an unlikely spot. Or a food truck with the best Johnny cakes imaginable. Or a set of swings that appeared out of nowhere. A favorite bbq place only open a few seemingly random days a week.

During our trip, we met a number of folks that return to Anguilla year after year, for decades. I totally get it.

(Cameras: Hasselblad 503cw, Contax T3 | Film: Kodak Portra 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400 | Lab: FW Photo Lab in Texas)

A new year

I am not one for making any new year resolutions but I am happy to be alive in 2022. Thankful for everyone in my family getting booster shots and that we were able to get some quality family time in for the holidays. We made a trip to Anguilla for our Christmas vacation. I’ll share some of those photos when I get them all back from my lab.

My work at Spark continues to transition and I find myself busy as ever — supporting existing portfolio companies but also meeting and connecting with new entrepreneurs committed to fighting climate change. I’ve made four angel investments so far in four different companies. All at the seed stage. Each one with a different mission but all aligned with the mission of saving our planet. It feels inspiring to meet with these founders.

I am very thankful to so many other investors that have also extended their time and energy helping me ramp up my network and understanding in this space. A very special shoutout to Jason Jacobs, Chris Sacca and Andrew Beebe.

I hope to write about these new investments in future blog posts. Stay tuned.