Expedition to the Arctic Circle
I am embarking on a photographic expedition to the western shores of Greenland along the southern edge of the Arctic Circle. My name is Emanuel Dimitri Volakis and I have been creating black and white photographs for over 27 years. My interest in photography began when I was eleven years old. My professional career as a fine artist commenced in my twenties. I have been working full time as an independent artist for almost three decades.
My past work has focused on the aesthetics and achievements of humanity from ancient times to the modern age. I have photographed the ruins at Pompeii, created an extensive body of work on the Gardens at Versailles and completed additional series on baroque sculpture, architecture and the urban landscape throughout Western Europe and North America.
My photographic travels have taken me to many unique regions across North America including Yosemite, Mineral King, the Olympic Peninsula, the northern coast of California, Zion and Bryce Canyon in the South West. My love of the natural world and the animals that inhabit these wild spaces have been an intrinsic part of my life as an environmentalist, naturalist and activist.
The principles of my aesthetics rest on four major pillars. The exclusive use of available light, sharp contrast, bold compositional elements and lastly a sense of timelessness that transports the viewer to a moment beyond the present. I will apply these same core principles on this expedition in order to create images that will capture the mystery and intrigue of this magical land beyond time.
This new series will focus exclusively on the natural world and the animals that live there. I will be staging from an icebreaker class expedition ship via zodiac watercraft and by sea kayak in order to fully immerse myself in this remote environment and get as close as possible to the various creatures of the region.
I have three distinct photographic objectives for this trip. I will be creating a series of images of icebergs and glaciers treated as architectural studies, capturing the phenomena of the Aurora Borealis, and creating a series of black and white portraits of animals living within the Arctic Circle.
I will be shooting primarily in black and white utilizing traditional film cameras including 35mm, medium format and 4x5. I will also utilize digital cameras to capture the Aurora Borealis in full color. The expedition will last 16 days followed by several months of darkroom work, photo editing and printing.
I am offering open edition and limited edition photographs (meticulously hand printed silver gelatin prints and archival pigment prints) to accommodate all levels of patronage. In addition, I will be offering non exclusive digital assets (film stills, videos and jpegs) as rewards for entry level patrons. I am also offering a few unique rewards for those patrons who want to support the campaign in a more substantial way.
If you are inspired by this endeavor and want to support traditional analog photography as an art form, please back this project so that I may create a body of work of this ephemeral place and the majestic animals that live there.
Thank you for considering this project.
A short note on the timeline for rewards fulfillment. For those supporters who would rather receive a reward sooner than later (2019 vs 2020), you are welcome to choose from a selection of images of my past work. Images from this expedition will become available over time as I develop film, scan and tune negatives and make prints in the darkroom. The process can take months (after returning with 100+ rolls of film) so patience is a must when it comes to analog photography. I will be leaving in August of 2019 for the Arctic and returning in mid September. Rest assured that I will work diligently to process and proof all the negatives as quickly as possible. The more money I raise through this campaign, the more time I can devote to completing this project with no interruptions when I return. It is my goal to have working proofs by December/January of this year and to begin to offer images for patrons to review by the Spring of 2020...or possibly sooner. All rewards should be fulfilled by Summer of 2020.
Risks and challenges
Any expedition to remote parts of the world holds an array of risks and challenges. The two largest potential risks for this expedition will be weather concerns and the scarcity of animals in the region. I hope to create shots of multiple wild animals but there is no guarantee that I will find all the subjects I am looking for (polar bears and arctic foxes being some of the more challenging animals to photograph in their natural habitat). The same goes for the Aurora Borealis, another natural phenomena which hopefully will manifest during my time there. With two solid weeks out in the field I feel confident I will be able to meet both of these goals. Barring any major equipment failures, I should bring back thousands of exposures resulting in a large array of images to choose from.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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