29 x 36cm, digital, 2012
Polar explorers have provided vivid descriptions of their experiences in the arctic regions of the Earth. Ranulph Fiennes trekked solo across vast reaches of both poles and left accounts which take our breath away with the beauty, and the ferocity, of the conditions in these frozen environments.
Inspired by the writings and film of the French explorer Sylvain Tesson’s time spent alone in a log cabin on Russia’s Lake Baikal, this image, seemingly calm and peaceful on the surface, belies the risk that underlie these treacherous surroundings. The figure seems alone, without the trappings of survival so essential in such a hostile location, yet clearly he has the necessary clothing for the intense cold. We must assume that he is prepared.
He stands on the frozen surface of a sea or lake, not far from the shore, as the sun casts a long shadow. Cliffs on the other side of the bay are coated with ice, and a vast cave yawns, inviting us to imagine what lies within. But he is in no hurry. There is plenty of time to appreciate the wonders of this desolate landscape.
Text: Richard Hayes