My ambition as visual storyteller is to:
Capture the remarkable adaptation of life to the harsh environment of Greenland;
Document the current dramatic changes to the Arctic environment;
Heighten awareness of the fragile interconnectedness of all things.
I feel a strong urge – almost an obligation – to communicate my fantastic Greenland experiences to a broad audience. The natural beauty of Greenland is unmatched in the World but the environment of the Arctic is also extremely vulnerable.
I combine photography with my scientific background and my long field experience. I travel to Greenland with my camera to shoot wildlife and to document the traditional Inuit way of life as it unfolds in modern Greenland. From my office in Copenhagen, Denmark, I author text for books and articles and work with layout and decoration using my images.
In few other places in the world is the connection and dependency between people, animals the surrounding environment as strong as in Greenland. Here, life is on the edge of what is physically possible! Only species that are adapted to the extreme climate can survive here. Only the people who can decode nature's signs and predict the weather can find food in this arctic desert.
When I started my photography in Greenland my fascination was directed towards the beauty of the country. I wanted to photograph the colors of the Greenlandic landscape, icebergs, northern lights and the arctic animals. If humans or anything man-made, such as a house, appeared in my pictures I would discard them.
Today my approach has changed radically! My mission is now to document how the indigenous people of today still rely on the surrounding nature. I strive to place humans and animals in a larger context. I seek to display animals and humans as but a small element in the breathtaking Greenland landscapes. I seek to capture the interactions between the people and the animals which are essential to human survival – both culturally as well as in the household. This is achieved not by a single, short trip to the Arctic on a cruise ship but requires spending long periods of time in Greenland. It requires following the hunters on their dog sleds, snow mobiles and small dinghies when they venture out on their quests for food.
Among Greenland’s birds, I have my own favorite, the Little Auk, but I am mostly known for my work with another seabird, the Arctic Tern. As the leader of an international research team, I was the first in the world to map the Arctic Tern’s incredible annual journey from Greenland to Antarctica and back again - the longest migration in the animal world. These fascinating results traveled around the world, and are communicated through this blog.
In my opinion, there is no better way to communicate this than through B/W photography!