The idea for LIFE ON THE LINE came about after looking at the Arctic Circle on the map, and I became intrigued by the mysterious dotted line that dissected apparently vast empty spaces and I quickly began to formulate a plan for a portrait project.
An invisible line of latitude 66 degrees and 33 minutes north of the Equator, the Arctic Circle intersects eight countries and is home to a rich diversity of people for whom the sun never sets in high summer, nor rises in deepest winter.
I made my first journey north in 2006 and have shot the entire project on colour film with a medium-format Hasselblad. I have now managed to make eleven trips in the Arctic, shooting in some twenty-three cities, towns and remote villages. I have achieved my ambition of taking most of the portraits as close as humanly possible to the Arctic Circle, however some of the people and landscapes were so extraordinary I extended my remit to include them. No portrait has been taken further than 35 miles (50km) from the Arctic Circle.
I have been honoured to spend time among many Arctic people - the Gwichin, Saami, Khanti, Nenets, Evenks, Yakuts and Inuit - and clearly the Arctic Circle is much more than snow and polar bears. There are many thriving modern settlements where you are more likely to meet a hairdresser than a reindeer herder. There is much more diversity to life here than one might imagine.
Just as this Kickstarter campaign is launched, I’m undertaking my last expedition, creating pictures with families in settlements on the western fjords of Greenland and the northern coast of Iceland. Now that I’m nearing the end this journey, I’m looking for funding to help realise my dream of producing a beautiful book and also an exhibition to do justice to the remarkable people of the Arctic Circle.
I’m creating the book with the lovely folks at indie publisher Polarworld and it will be released in Autumn 2014. I know that the publishing team - award-winning photo editor Huw Lewis-Jones and author Kari Herbert, daughter of polar explorer Sir Wally Herbert - will do a superb job, thoughtfully designed and beautifully printed, but we need your help now.
The money raised in this Kickstarter campaign will cover the design and printing costs for the books, as we search for other funding to support a touring exhibition which we would like to see shown in each of the Arctic nations.
LIFE ON THE LINE celebrates the variety of existence in the circumpolar Arctic, in the face of overwhelming environmental and cultural change. Please help us to share this story!
Risks and challenges
The Arctic can be a risky and challenging place, and I'm thankful that so far I've come through relatively unscathed ! Creating a book might seem straightforward in comparison, but they are difficult to do well so it's reassuring to be working with the team at Polarworld who have a great track record of producing beautiful books.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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