Ice floes have also long been the subject of fantasies due to the unknown around it. Following the polar explorations, these fantasies softened, although today this vastness of ice still makes one dream.
Pack ice is a layer of ice that has formed over the oceans bordering the polar regions. Due to their immensity and the boreal colors bordering the polar sky, these spaces have always been seen as magical despite their dangerousness.
The photographs of Stephan WILKES faithfully reflect the ice floe, while recalling the myths surrounding it. In these two photographs he sublimates the landscape by bringing together in an image all the moments of the day. This allows him to focus both the essence and the complexity of the subject.
This process also enables him to report on the devastating impact of global warming on the sea ice. His photographs therefore appear as crying testimonies of the ecological emergency.
Polar bears : In this photograph, the pack ice is sunny and the sky is marked with shades of purple. Two polar bears advance on the desert glacier, immense and flat. The vanishing point is the scarlet moon in the center of the image, which at first glance focuses the viewer’s attention. Polar bears seem secondary, melted in the white of the snow. The main thing here is the pack ice. All the elements that are traditionally associated with it are present. The contrast between the warm colors of the sky and the icy white of the sea ice provides a feeling of soothing balance.
The great july melt : Stephan WILKES captures here the effects of global warming on the sea ice.
The day unfolds from left to right, from morning to evening. The vanishing point of the photograph is the sun on the horizon at the corner. Stephan WILKES captures here pieces of disjointed pack ice. The surface covered with water, much larger than that of the sea ice, is worrying. The brightness of the photograph, due to the blazing sun, questions. This image then strikes the viewer and makes them aware of ecological issues.
Paul NICKLEN’s photographs fit into a more intimate register, capturing an iceberg, a waterfall or a lagoon. Through these pieces of ice floes, he manages to transcribe the power, and the strength of polar space. The black shades that contrast with the vivid blues and whites grab the viewer. The latter can then be captivated by the image, see himself projected inside.