What began in July 2003 as a single visit to the frigid Ilulissat Icefjord in western Greenland morphed into a years-long project for German photographer Olaf Otto Becker. That initial trip prompted fourteen subsequent voyages to the Arctic coastlines, where he captured monumental glaciers calving and crumbling into the ocean and still expanses of water through bleak nighttime light. “Every day, huge thundering masses of ice break into the sea, causing the sea level to rise slowly but incessantly,” he writes.
Becker compiled the striking images in his Broken Line series, which frames the remote regions from Ilulissat to Uummannaq and Upernavik to Melvillebay. Navigating thick fog and unpredictable waters alone in a rubber raft, he traveled along 4,000 kilometers of coastlines between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. when the midsummer light illuminated the landscape and used long exposures to capture the vistas. Becker details his grueling excursions—these involved being struck by an iceberg that plunged him into the water, broke his rib, and caused a concussion—on PetaPixel, where he also explains the urgency of documenting the glacial forms:
Numerous houses in the village of Nuugaatsiaq were washed out to sea. Scientists found the debris avalanche was triggered by the growing warming of the rocks. The brittle rock is no longer held together by the permafrost, so the danger of rockfalls has been increasing for years. Scientists have calculated that, in addition, the coasts of Greenland and the island itself will rise significantly because of the melting of the tons of ice, while the rising sea level will literally drown some coasts. Everything will change.
The stunning photos shown here are compiled in a book by the same name, and Becker shares more of his projects that document the changing landscapes on his site. You also might enjoy the diverse glacial shots captured by Jan Erik Waider.
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Photographer Jan Erik Waider (previously) splits his time between Hamburg, Germany and traveling through the harsh and unpredictable climate of Nordic countries like Greenland, Iceland, and Norway. In each of these locations Waider seeks the most remote and hidden locations, wishing to present rarely seen perspectives of the native landscape to a larger audience. For more than a decade he has captured the monumental beauty of northern glaciers, isolating their color and shape in a way that makes the icy cliffs appear almost extraterrestrial.
In one ongoing series titled Remnants, Waider finds abandoned pieces of icebergs that lay like “stranded whales” on Iceland’s south coast. “Powerful waves wash around them and drag them further ashore, after they drifted aimlessly in the sheltered lagoon for months,” he explains. “The colors tell stories about age and density, and they speak of the history of the volcanoes that let black ash rain down and darkened the skies.”
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During his past two decades as a photographer, Daniel Beltrá has photographed landscapes in all seven continents, exploring equally the beauty and tragedy found in nature across the globe. Beltrá works mostly in the air, providing the viewer with the expansive scale of what he encounters while perched inside an airplane or helicopter such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill which he captured over the span of two months.
Other locations the Spanish photographer has traveled to included the Brazilian Amazon, the Arctic, the Southern Oceans, and the Patagonian ice fields. Beltrá was drawn to each of these locations due to the complexity of nature found at each. He explains in his artist statement that the “fragility of our ecosystems is a continuous thread throughout my work. My photographs show the vast scale of transformation our world is under from human-made stresses.”
Beltrá hopes that his unique aerial perspective and subject matter instill an understanding of how we are directly affecting the environment around us and at the edges of the globe. Many of his images from locations in Iceland and Greenland were recently included in his solo exhibition “Ice/Green Lands” at Catherine Edelman Gallery in Chicago that closed on March 5, 2016. The photographer also recently published a collection of his images from the 2010 BP oil spill in his book SPILL. You can see more of his expansive landscape photography on his Instagram and Facebook. (via Ignant)
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Tackling climate change or the documentation of extreme environments can be challenging endeavors for any artist, but for Brooklyn-based Zaria Forman it was simply an extension of a childhood spent traveling with her family to some of the Earth’s most remote locations. For her 2012 project Chasing the Light, Forman led an ambitious art expedition by sailing up the northwest coast of Greenland to retrace the 1869 journey of American painter William Bradford. Along the way she documented the changing arctic landscape which she would use for inspiration in several large soft pastel drawings seen here. Her nearly photorealistic works exquisitely capture the atmosphere and mood of a landscape in flux.
In late 2013, Forman traveled to the Maldives, the lowest-lying country in the world, and an area said to be most vulnerable to rising sea levels, where she completed another body of work focusing on the rising ocean tides. The resulting drawings create an alluring juxtaposition of beauty and menace. Similar journeys have taken the artist to locations around Israel, Nosara, and Svalbard.
If you’d like to learn more about Forman’s work she currently has several original works available on Artsy and you can purchase prints over on ArtStar. The artist has an upcoming exhibition at Carla Massoni Gallery that opens in March, and if you have a good eye you can spot 10 of her drawings used on the sets of Netflix’s smash hit House of Cards. You can also follow her on Facebook. (via Gaks Designs)
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Nuremberg-based graphic designer and photographer Jan Erik Waider has traveled on numerous expeditions north to Greenland, Iceland, Scotland, and the Faroe Islands off Denmark where he shot these beautifully surreal landscapes of icebergs, glaciers and cliffs. I first stumbled onto his Icebergs in Fog series shot earlier this year in Ilulissat and Disko Bay in Greeland and then found his website where you can see all of these photographs in much higher resolution, really, go look, just incredible work. Despite the foreboding, harsh climate depicted in these photographs Waider seems to transform the landscapes into something strangely peaceful and idyllic. If you’re interested he has prints available on request and you can also follow him on Facebook. (via behance)
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