Frozen footprints

Frozen footprints

searching for polar bears

This year I chose a drastic change in direction. Instead of the tropics, my photographic expedition led me deep into the Arctic. My goal: to encounter free-roaming polar bears.

The environment around the North Pole is like no other. You could say that it’s a “landscape” without land. Only water, in all its forms. Solid, liquid, and vaporous clouds and fog that refract the midnight sun …

July in Spitzbergen, the remote northern Norwegian island. Without sunrise or sunset, it’s as if the day never ends … The Arctic waters under the ship are sometimes smooth as a mirror, then ruffled by the wind. Sometimes the vast ice pack seems delicate and almost transparent; a moment later it is eerily forbidding, in chilling tones of blue that can be seen nowhere else on Earth.

Here among the drifting ice floes, is the home of the polar bear. It is an enormous yet fragile ecosystem of poetic beauty. How will I ever find these elusive, lone hunters in this immense frozen wilderness? Then suddenly, an enormous white creature appears. A magical moment for me. A breathtaking encounter in a harsh environment. Face to face with a polar bear, just 888 km from the North Pole.

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