• October 26, 2015

A Photographer Captures Life in a Land of Disappearing Ice

Becky Harlan

“How do you photograph climate change?” This question is the driving force behind Ciril Jazbec’s photography. It’s what first took him in 2013 to the tiny island town of Uummannaq on Greenland’s west coast—a town where decreasing sea ice has rapidly altered traditional hunting culture and community life.

Picture of a seamstress looking out the window of her blue home, with the skin of a polar bear stretched out along the side of the house
A polar bear skin dries on a rack outside the home of Ane Løvstrøm on Saattut Island. She’s one of the few women in the community with the skill to fashion boots and pants from the skin of the far north’s greatest predator. Hunters prize her garments, which provide unparalleled warmth.
Photograph by Ciril Jazbec

The changing traditions and declining population of the village fascinated Jazbec, and he’s since returned to Uummannaq (and the surrounding fjord that shares its name) three times. This story turned into his first assignment for National Geographic magazine, appearing in the November 2015 issue on climate change.

In this video, Jazbec reflects on his experiences in Uummannaq, where he strove to illustrate the often abstract issue of climate change with the real experiences of the people it affects … and how he accidentally let a few sled dogs loose in the process.

Read the full story and see more images in the feature article, “How Melting Ice Changes One Country’s Way of Life.”

On one of his trips to Uummannaq, Jazbec had the opportunity to help turn an iceberg into a movie screen. Read about it on Proof.

There are 4 Comments. Add Yours.

  1. Kai
    October 31, 2015

    Beautiful and sad. Such an interesting culture, I definitely want to go there soon.

  2. Silas S
    October 28, 2015

    Congratulations to Ciril! Becky, this photograph which has gone on print is interesting –that climate change would prove to be a good thing for polar bears if humans leave them alone. Even if humans don’t hunt them, climate change might reduce the availability of prey. It also evokes a sense of fear with a symbolic reference to the country it features.

  3. Daniella
    October 27, 2015

    Amazing! someone take me on an adventure!!!

  4. claudeRitch
    October 27, 2015

    i like soo much national geographic

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