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WWF Nytorv Arctic Photo Exhibition

The Arctic is one of the last places on the planet where humans have stepped lightly enough to avoid major changes to the environment. That is now under threat, as the virtual footprint of millions of people around the world is being tracked across the Arctic by climate change.

Nowhere on Earth are the effects of global warming more apparent and alarming than in our polar regions. Thinning and retreat of the arctic sea ice and the thawing of frozen ground are on track to unleash a torrent of climate change feedbacks that will wash away ecosystems that have evolved over thousands of years. These same climate feedbacks will also amplify global warming to levels dangerous to life in many parts of the world far removed from the Arctic.

As the ice recedes, more accessible arctic lands and waters will increase worldwide competition for resources that are becoming scarcer in the south, leading to more commercial and military activity that could further threaten an already fragile ecosystem. We need to take action now to protect the Arctic – and the livelihoods of the people who live there. Firstly, we must slow the impacts of climate change, and secondly, we must try to find ways to buffer the impacts of climate change. Only by doing both will we give natural systems in the Arctic a chance to survive.

This exhibition reminds us of the values that stand to be lost in the Arctic, and shows us some of the emerging threats.

Disappearing sea ice

 rel= © WWF / Mireille de la Lez/www.vanishingworld.se

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"One day in mid winter, the early sunset made the ice filled waters in front of a huge glacier look like a warm golden inferno. But the blue colour of the small icebergs reveals how cold it really was, -40°C.

"

Mireille de la Lez

The Arctic symbol of climate change

 rel= © WWF / Steven Kazlowski/www.lefteyepro.com

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"A large polar bear boar standing high atop an iceberg floating in the Beaufort sea, looking for his favourite prey – the ringed seal, offshore from the 1002 area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska. Photographing in the Arctic is often filled with long periods of waiting - waiting for weather, waiting for animals, waiting for the right light - but these are always followed by times of excitement and wonder."

Steven Kazlowski

Protecting polar bears

 rel= © WWF / Mireille de la Lez/www.vanishingworld.se


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"This one year old polar bear cub was playing with her sibling out on the pack ice. Suddenly she caught my scent in the air and started walking towards my hide. Normally a true arctic predator will try to get a bite when possible, but this time she changed her mind when the hide revealed a smelly nature photographer.

"

Mireille de la Lez

Surviving in the extreme

 rel= © WWF / Staffan Widstrand/www.staffanwidstrand.se

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"Traditional narwhal hunting like this has been done for thousands of years and never used to threaten the narwhal as a species. Inuit use all of the narwhal, but the skin is most praised, and the ivory tusk very valuable. There are concerns that some non-kayak based hunting methods today may take more narwhals than is sustainable."

STAFFAN WIDSTRAND

The plight of the walrus

 rel= © WWF / Steven Kazlowski/www.lefteyepro.com

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"Walruses crowd on an ice floe to rest in between diving down to feed on clams, mussels and other benthic organisms on the floor of the Continental Shelf, at the confluence of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. I flew in a 206 single engine plane with the door off, 20 miles off shore from the Inupiaq village of Wainwright, AK, to capture this image."

Steven Kazlowski

Bird breeding down

 rel= © WWF / Sindre Kinnerød/www.flashstudio.no

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"This image of a Black Guillemot is taken at the moment it decided we were getting too close! When photographing birds, you want to get as near as possible, which can be difficult. This area is paradise for a photographer, but it is threatened due to climate change. It would be a shame if generations to come are unable to experience the same amazing landscape.
"

Sindre Kinnerød

Melting land

 rel= © WWF / Bryan Alexander/www.arcticphoto.com


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"This is what happens when you throw a mug of boiling water into the air at -51°C. It explodes into a cloud of vapour and ice. I took this photo to demonstrate the severe cold of a Northern Siberian winter. Many people have told me that they can see a face in the vapour cloud, can you?"

Bryan Alexander

Scraping to live

 rel= © WWF / Bryan Alexander/www.arcticphoto.com

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"This image of reindeer being moved by Khanty and Nenets herders was taken on an epic trek. 1000 reindeer were driven from the Yamal Peninsula to Khanty-Mansiysk, a journey of over 1000 miles which took 6 months and involved crossing 10 major rivers. It was part of a project to re-establish reindeer herding after it had been decimated by the oil and gas industry - this presents the greatest threat to the herding cultures of western Siberia."

Bryan Alexander

Culture and the caribou

 rel= © WWF / Bryan Alexander/www.arcticphoto.com

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"I think that one of the key differences between polar explorers and native people of the Arctic is that while most explorers view the Arctic as a hostile environment that they need to fight and conquer, native people live in harmony with it. To me this portrait I took of Innokentiy Zharkov, a Dolgan reindeer herder on Siberia’s Taymyr Peninsula epitomises a man at one with his surroundings."

Bryan Alexander

The last fisheries

 rel= © WWF / Kevin Schafer Photography

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"I was on Unalaska Island in the Aleutians, working on assignment for WWF in the Bering sea ecoregion. I spent several days around the busy fishing port of Dutch Harbour, photographing fish factories and ships unloading their catch. This shot was taken as a boat headed out of the harbour late in the evening - with gentle colours bathing this remote island landscape."

Kevin Schafer

Invaders

 rel= © WWF / Staffan Widstrand/www.staffanwidstrand.se

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"Wolves are Europe's most controversial and most often talked about animals. Many love them, some hate them, few know anything at all about them, but everyone has an opinion. Wolves are a part of our cultural history and our natural heritage since millennia back. Wintertime, man used to follow in the tracks of the wolves, to scavenge from their kills. Wolves were then always the better hunters. They may be one of the winners from climate change."

Staffan Widstrand

Upsetting the equilibrium

 rel= © Sindre Kinnerød

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"Hundreds of whales were stranded on this island, leaving a scary sight. The whales have been coming to the same place year after year, but what will happen to the whales if the water becomes warmer every year?"

Sindre Kinnerød

Sustaining cultures

Changes in the numbers and distributions of food species are deeply alarming to many of these ... rel= © WWF / Martin Hartley/www.martinhartley.com

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"This image was taken in Gjoa Haven on April 1st 2004, on Hamlet Day. The little girl in the photo was taking part in a treasure hunt as part of the Hamlet day celebrations; the treasure was in the form of Canadian dollars buried in the snow....nobody found any of it."

Martin Hartley

Perils on the ice

 rel= © WWF / Bryan Alexander/www.arcticphoto.com

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"Crossing leads that open up in the sea ice during the late spring and early summer can be difficult and dangerous at times. I took this photo while returning from a fishing trip with Jakob Petersen near Qeqertat in North Greenland. He and I both made the jump but several of his huskies ended up in the water and we had to drag them out."

Bryan Alexander

Dangerous livings

 rel= © WWF / Steven Kazlowski/www.lefteyepro.com

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"The Inupiat of northern Alaska have shared the polar bears’ environment for thousands of years. Today they are players in a world economy. Technologies have changed, but the survival of arctic communities is still tied to the environment. With global warming come worries about the future of subsistence food sources, traditional knowledge, and the life of the community itself."

Steven Kazlowski

The Arctic mirror

 rel= © WWF / Bryan Alexander/www.arcticphoto.com

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"I took this photo on October 8, 2008. Soon after dawn this amazing cloud formation developed. It looked apocalyptic. After about 45 minutes the sky turned from battleship grey to pink, and it became just another stormy autumn day. None of the local Inuit that I spoke to had seen a cloud formation like that before. Was this a sign of climate change or just a rare moment in nature?"

Bryan Alexander

Rising waters

 rel= © WWF / Staffan Widstrand/www.staffanwidstrand.se

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"Anyone who has travelled the Arctic the last 20 years can see the dramatic changes in the climate. When I was crossing the ocean between Greenland and Svalbard in the summer of 2002, suddenly, for the first time ever in recorded history, there was no ice at all in the East Greenland current. Since then, that has happened again during another 4 summers."

Staffan Widstrand

Proving the problem

 rel= © WWF / Martin Hartley/www.martinhartley.com

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"Sea ice breaks up to expose areas of open water called ‘leads’ and refreezes into flat areas of frozen water called ‘pans’. When two pans are pushed together by wind or currents they break up into gigantic walls of ice, called ‘pressure ridges’. These are hazards which make data collection dangerous and time consuming. This photograph was taken 568 miles from the North Geographic Pole in temperatures of -34°C."

Martin Hartley

An opening Arctic

 rel= © WWF / Steven Kazlowski/www.lefteyepro.com

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"The Arctic environment is clearly changing. Spring comes earlier, summer lasts longer, and an ice-free passage has opened up through the Arctic Ocean for the first time. The web of life is severely stressed. I offer these images as witness to an ecosystem that could be lost if present generations do not act. "

Steven Kazlowski

The cost of oil

 rel= © WWF / Staffan Widstrand/www.staffanwidstrand.se

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"The Arctic is the least polluted and most wild area in the northern hemisphere. But where the few people live, many times it looks like a garbage dump. Oil drums like these are used for all kinds of fuels, but are rarely brought back south to where they came from. And a lot of pollutants from the south follow air streams up north and fall down over the Arctic, causing dangerously high levels of industrial toxins in seals, fish, polar bears - and man!"

Staffan Widstrand

A new sea

 rel= © WWF / Bryan Alexander/www.arcticphoto.com

“An independent survey indicated more than 1.2 million passengers travelled in 2004 to Arctic destinations aboard cruise ships; however, by 2007 that number had more than doubled.”
Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment

“Shipping activities pose greater risk for accidents in the Arctic than further south, because of the extreme conditions with ice, darkness and fog. The same climatic conditions also complicate the rescue and clean-up work and thus increase risks of environmental impacts as a consequence of shipping accidents.”
Arctic Shipping Activities Into The Next Decade - Norwegian Maritime Directorate

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"A container cargo ship being unloaded at Dudinka, the largest port in Siberia and the only one that operates year round. The port services the industrial arctic city of Norilsk where intensive mining takes place. Most of Norilsk’s enriched nickel and copper is exported from here by ship. Increased shipping in the Arctic, particularly by ice breakers during the winter months, can cause problems for native people who use the frozen sea as a highway to their hunting grounds and to visit other communities."

Bryan Alexander

Sharing the top of the world


 rel= © WWF / Martin Hartley/www.martinhartley.com

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"Resolute Bay, March 16th 2002, Nunavut. Pen Hadow was preparing for his record breaking North Pole solo expedition. I borrowed a 16mm semi fish eye lens for my Mamiya 645 camera, a set of step ladders and a skidoo. I found a perfect patch of sea, climbed to the very top of the step ladders and photographed Pen walking towards me. As I tipped the camera down, the horizon curved into a beautiful arc putting Pen on top of the world."

Martin Hartley

Our ambassadors of the future

 rel= © WWF / Martin Hartley/www.martinhartley.com

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"This image shows the group on an excursion around the floating ice in the Arctic. The students were amazed by this breathtaking scenery, scouting for Arctic birds, seals and polar bears. They returned inspired to try to maintain this awe-inspiring place."

Martin Hartley

2 degrees = 2 much!

 rel= © WWF / Staffan Widstrand/www.staffanwidstrand.se

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"Melting ice floes, Qaanaaq, NW Greenland. Life changes completely in the Arctic when the summer ice no longer can be trusted or used. Polar bears have difficulty in hunting their prey - and so have the Inuit and the Chukchi. The sea ice has also always been these people's transport highways. Now it is unreliable. However, the most important lesson from the Arctic today is not "poor polar bear" and "poor Inuit". It is an early warning to all the rest of us too. Poor all of us, if we don’t get the deal sealed in Copenhagen and some real measures taken. Climate change will then affect billions of people, forcing hundreds of millions to move away from their ancestral lands. Where do you think they will want to go? "

Photographers

The WWF International Arctic Programme would like to thank the following people for their photographic contribution to the WWF Arctic Tent at COP15:


Bryan Alexander
Martin Hartley
Steven Kazlowski
Sindre Kinnerød
Mireille de la Lez
Kevin Schafer
Staffan Widstrand

Virtual tour creators

The WWF International Arctic Programme would like to thank Jan and Chris Bridge of wecommunic8 for their work on the COP15 street gallery, 'Arctic on the edge'.

Photographer biographies

MIREILLE DE LA LEZ

The professional wild life photographer Mireille de la Lez has years of experience from intensive fieldwork in the High Arctic and has assembled a unique expertise of working under the most extreme conditions. Isolated on the Arctic tundra, often hundreds of miles from the nearest settlement, her expeditions usually last several months at a time. Born in Sweden in 1970, Mireille de la Lez early caught an interest for wildlife and the natural environment. Equipped with a camera at the age of seven she started to combine what since then have been two of her largest interests in life – nature and photography. She is today a naturalist devoted to the Arctic regions and endangered animal life. She believes living in nature with the Arctic wildlife and getting to know them and their behaviours is a requirement for unique images. After a decade in the Arctic she is an eye-witness of the dramatic climate changes in the region. She produces books, exhibitions, film and articles for magazines around the world, such as National Geographic. Her book Vanishing World is an unprecedented visual record of the Arctic. It is translated in 9 languages, and sold in more than 40 countries in the world. Mireille has won several international awards for her great work.

STEVEN KAZLOWSKI

Steven Kazlowski earned a degree in marine biology from Towson State University and worked briefly in the Florida Keys as a marine biologist before setting out for Alaska to pursue his true passion - wildlife photography. His photographs have been featured in Audubon, BBC Wildlife, National Wildlife, Sierra, Newsweek, TIME and Vanity Fair magazines, and he has published several books including Alaska Wildlife Impressions, Alaska's Bears of the North, Alaska's Wildlife of the North, and The Last Polar Bear: Facing the Truth of a Warming World (Braidedriver.org, February 2008). Steven travels around the US conducting educational outreach on The Last Polar Bear, making appearances on local television stations, including ABC's Good Morning America, and has been interviewed on various NPR radio programs around the country. A travelling museum exhibit based on the book was on display at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture from June 28 - December 31, 2008, and is now travelling around the US through 2010. He is currently working on an international arctic project with the polar bear as the focus. Steven is known within the photography community for his skills of observation and his determination to capture an image even in extreme weather conditions. Kazlowski lives and travels frequently from Washington to Alaska, photographing the natural world. To view more of his work, visit his website: lefteyepro.com.

 

STAFFAN WIDSTRAND

Born 1959. Founding member and Managing Director of the "Wild Wonders of Europe". Full time professional photographer and writer, happily freelance since 1990. Favourite story topics are subjects where man and nature meet, and the different results of it: Nature travel, outdoor action, ecotourism, wildlife (especially large carnivores), indigenous cultures, environmental issues, hunting, fishing and adventure, anywhere in the world. Founding fellow of the ILCP (International League of Conservation Photographers) Nature Photographer of The Year in Sweden, 2001 Author of 8 books. The latest: In the Arctic Wind. Previous titles: The Big Five, Ajunngilaq, I Arktis, Ourson Brun, Den lilla boken om Vargen, Den lilla boken om björnen, Wild Sweden, Exploring an Outdoor Wonderland, Ecotouring/Safari Exhibitions in France, Canada, Finland, Norway, Italy, Germany, Japan, Mexico and Sweden. 10 Awards in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. 5 Awards also in the German European Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. One of the founders of the Swedish National Carnivore Information centre, called Rovdjurscentret De 5 Stora, inaugurated by HRH The King of Sweden in June 2005. During five years responsible for the development of the Swedish quality label for outdoor tourism products called Nature´s Best. Founding member of the Swedish Ecotourism Association, board member of The Swedish Polar Society and member of the Traveller´s Club Sweden. Websites: staffanwidstrand.se, wild-wonders.com. Affiliated to Corbis, Nature Picture Library and NATURBILD/Johnér.

SINDRE KINNERØD

Sindre Kinnerød has worked as a professional photographer for more than ten years. He is co-owner of Flash Studio in Oslo, Norway. During Sindre´s professional career he has hosted numerous photography exhibitions, both in Norway and abroad, and hosted seminars and workshops. Sindre has always been fascinated by the diversity and beauty of nature and wildlife, and has specialised in nature and extreme sport photography. He has travelled far and wide through his career and he has been working on many of the worlds highest peaks, among these are Cho Oyu (8,201m), Huana Potosi (6,088m), Aconcagua (6,963m), Kilimanjaro (5,895m) and Mt Blanc (4,810m). My pictures in this exhibition were taken during an expedition for WWF in Spitsbergen in June 2008, 'Voyage for the Future'.

BRYAN ALEXANDER

British photographer and writer Bryan Alexander has worked in the Arctic every year since 1971, travelling extensively in order to document the life of its indigenous peoples as well as the changes and issues that affect them. From 1982 until 1996 he also worked as a photographer for the Black Star Agency in New York. Over the years he has carried out assignments for many of the world’s leading magazines including, Time, GEO, Le Figaro, Smithsonian, Vogue, People, International Wildlife, and the Sunday Times. His photographs and articles have been published in over 40 different countries and have appeared in prestigious publications like National Geographic and Life magazine. Bryan has worked on numerous book projects including two books for Time-Life's Peoples of the Wild series, ‘Hunters of the Polar North’ and ‘Masked Dancers of West Africa’. He has also written and taken the photographs for a number of other books including Inuit Hunters of the North (Colour Library Books), The Vanishing Arctic (Cassell) and Journey into the Arctic (Oxford University Press). Bryan also works as a consultant for television, film and book projects on arctic subjects. He lives in Dorset in the Southwest of England where he and his wife Cherry run a stock photo library specialising in the polar regions. You will find more of his work on their website: arcticphoto.com.

KEVIN SCHAFER

Kevin Schafer is a professional natural history photographer, whose work has appeared in all of the most respected science and nature magazines in the US, including National Geographic, Smithsonian, Audubon and Natural History. His story on Amazon river dolphins appeared in the June 2009 issue of National Geographic, and another one on endangered Patagonian otters is coming up in 2010. Kevin's recent book, Living Light, won a 2008 Independent Publishers Medal, and Penguin Planet, received the 2000 National Outdoor Book Award. Committed to putting his images to work for conservation, Kevin spent two years documenting threatened eco-regions around the world for the World Wildlife Fund. He is also a founding Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers. In addition, Kevin was the 1997 recipient of the Gerald Durrell award for Endangered Species photography by the BBC. Kevin was named the Outstanding Nature Photographer of the Year for 2007 by NANPA (the North American Nature Photographers Assoc.). He lives in Seattle, Washington with his wife, author Martha Hill, former picture editor of Audubon magazine. For more information, see kevinschafer.com.

MARTIN HARTLEY

One of the world’s leading expedition photographers, Martin Hartley has documented 20 polar assignments. He is one of the only professional photographers to have crossed the Arctic Ocean on foot and with dogs, on the Adventure Ecology Top of the World Trans-Arctic Expedition 2006, and most recently the Catlin Arctic Survey 2009 - an international collaboration between polar explorers and some of the world’s foremost scientific bodies to help determine how long the Arctic Ocean sea ice cover will remain a permanent feature of our planet. Hartley gained his reputation for formidable landscapes and portraits working with transparency film – his trademark is the medium format that has made him so popular with magazine art directors. He also works with the digital medium giving him extra versatility in the world’s harshest environments. His in-depth technical knowledge, creative vision and ability to produce results in the most difficult of conditions makes him a highly sought after expedition and adventure photographer.