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Eldmóður: Tom Oldham Captures the Fire Within Crossfit Athletes of Iceland

- 6 years ago

G.F Smith and Tom Oldham announce a two-week exhibition of Tom’s Photographic work at the Show Space in London

Eldmóður – the fire within the Crossfit athletes of Iceland


Eldmóður is an old Icelandic word, which, while having no direct translation into modern day English, has been described as ‘passion’, ‘enthusiasm’ or ‘the fire within’. 300,000 athletes enter the annual World Crossfit Open Games to battle physical and mental exhaustion to become the one male, female and team champion. A huge anomaly in these numbers is the level of participants and eventual victors that herald from Iceland, which enjoys a population of a mere 320K but constantly takes high podium positions. The European Crossfit Team comprised of four athletes, three of which were Icelanders [Europe has a population of 743 million]. Why? Quite possibly, this is because of Eldmóður.


In an attempt to capture Eldmóður, photographer Tom Oldham travelled to Iceland to discover this phenomenon and investigate what causes the individual and incredible drive and enthusiasm. The project aims to investigate the correlation between the hard, brutal landscape, their 24 hours of light in summer but long, cold winters with 19 hours of darkness per day, and their intense ability to push themselves further than other Crossfit athletes were willing to explore in themselves.


When shooting, Tom was told that the ‘pain cave’ [a space all participants of this sport have to be willing to enter] was only 70% mental and that the body could take much more. This came from a female Crossfit athlete who was wearing a swimsuit and was about to swim in an icy pool. In November.

Tom believed her.

Exhibition Dates are 14-28 February
Monday-Friday, 10am-5pm
Show Space, 27-28 Eastcastle Street
London W1w 8DH
Tel 020 3205 0074

About the author

Read Eldmóður: Tom Oldham Captures the Fire Within Crossfit Athletes of Iceland

Simon Skinner

Co-founder // Editor

Having spent many years working in various pockets of the music industry, and always with a camera in hand, Simon has worked with organisations such as Warner/Chappell, Food Records and ultimately, co-founding the innovative independent record label, Izumi Records before moving fully into the world of publishing in 2007. Amongst numerous other projects in the last decade, he has been responsible for a number of specialist photo trade magazines and journals for the filmmaking and photography communities, along with a coffee table book entitled, "Great Britons of Photography' which he produced with Peter Dench and Leica. Now heading up PhotoBite, Simon and the team have set themselves a task of delivering informative and inspirational content for photographers of all levels, from the beginner, shooting with smartphones, to the seasoned photographer and filmmaker.