Iconic Photos

Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos

Whaling, Faroe Islands, 1970.

with 11 comments


In 1970, Adam Woolfitt captured the above image on Tindhólmur, a small island in Sørvágsfjørður fjord in the Faroe Islands. Tindhólmur itself was a surreal place, its rock jutting defiantly into the skies, and Woolfitt’s photo was equally otherworldly: skies were foreboding, boats float on a bloodied bay, surrounded by whale carcasses and children.  Dante could have penned a verse about the scene. Bruegel could have painted it.

The image, taken on Kodachrome II and printed in The National Geographic, was immediately controversial. Anti-whaling movements reproduced it. Two years later, fifty two countries voted in favor of a ten-year global moratorium (which didn’t take place because the major whaling countries were not signatories).

On Faroe Islands, whaling continued, although the hunts were often disrupted by the environmental activists. To this day, the islanders would drive pilot whales into shallow waters to slaughter them. This annual ceremony is called ‘grindadrap’ (whale hunt in Faroese), and locals insist that ‘grindadrap’ is not done for commercial purposes, as the meat can not be sold and is divided evenly between members of the local community.

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

February 16, 2016 at 1:08 am

Posted in Culture

Tagged with , ,

11 Responses

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  1. Amazing photo, and sad…

    Traveling Rockhopper

    February 16, 2016 at 7:49 am

  2. Wow! I can’t believe this really happens! Sucks….


    February 16, 2016 at 9:45 am

  3. anyone shocked or saddened by this photo must learn to see the difference between predatory fishing/whaling, and a community driven annual tradition

    valdir bruxel junior

    February 16, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    • You sound like you know what you are saying, but really you just did a verbal fart…

      Kernow Skipper

      August 28, 2016 at 12:30 pm

  4. It’s terrible pics


    February 18, 2016 at 5:18 pm

  5. I have fun with, lead to I found exactly what I used to be
    having a look for. You’ve ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

    trik and tips computer

    February 22, 2016 at 2:45 am

  6. Really Amazing Post…


    March 6, 2016 at 8:20 am

  7. c’est beau


    April 3, 2016 at 11:47 am

  8. Aweosme capture…. Your writing about it is also amazing…

    I’m also photography and nature lover… My pleasure if you read and view my photos to my website… http://mylifesphotograph.com


    April 28, 2016 at 1:29 am

  9. Secondary use is one measure of how iconic. Here another photo from the set made into a collage by Andres Gamiochipi.
    El mar rojo. 💉


    October 17, 2016 at 4:42 pm

  10. […] Power of photographs is often debated, but in some areas, their influence was undeniable. One of the most shared images on Iconic Photos in last 12 months have been this picture of a Faroese whale hunt. […]

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