We’re finally here, go-time for my participation in the Arctic Circle Residency! I fly out in just a few short days, and can’t thank you all enough for the love and support I’ve received over the last year. I will be posting a little update from Stockholm and possibly Longyearbyen, but once I am on board the beautiful Antigua. I will have no internet connection until we’ve come back to Longyearbyen at the end of our journey. You will hear from me again upon my arrival to Oslo after the sailing trip.
Until then, here’s a little summary of all the necessary stuff I am taking with me. Although I’ve managed to keep it pared down, you still need a lot of good winter clothing and shooting with both film and digital equipment can really add up.
Wondering how to put all those clothes to good use in cold weather? Check out the video below on how to dress for arctic temperatures!
Email subscribers, go here to watch the above videos!
Special shout out to my good friend Claire, who has given me the most amazing wool scarf for this trip! I tested it out last winter, when temperatures in NYC reached 15°F. You can check out more of her scarves, all crocheted by hand, at her Esty. Thanks Claire!!
I went out for a walk over the weekend to practice setting up, firing and breaking down my new Intrepid 4×5 camera. My lovely companion took some footage on his phone, which I’ve slapped together as a little spontaneous Intrepid Camera teaser. One week until I head for Svalbard!
I am unbelievably excited to be the caretaker of a beautiful new Intrepid 4×5 camera. The Intrepid Camera Company got its start with an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign, and now they are in the throes of production, pumping out lightweight, folding 4×5 cameras for photography enthusiasts all over the world.
I’ve been asked many times, Why shoot 4×5? Isn’t it expensive? And slow? And frustrating? And the answer is yes! It is very expensive, clocking in at about $2-$3 a pop for a single shot of film (not including processing, which brings that up to $5-$6 per shot!) It is also super time consuming, sure! Loading the sheets of film into film carriers, setting up the camera and taking measurements to align a shot, loading the film, firing… the whole process can take an hour or better. On top of the expense, both financial and time wise, there’s an incredibly high chance that your photograph will not come out, compared to shooting roll films. Even the most seasoned Large Format photographers will nod along to this fact; so much more can wrong, but the risk of that is totally, totally worth it!
Walker Evans with a large format camera by Peter Seker
The slowness and size of shooting a 4×5 is exactly why some photographers love it so much. Not only is the final product more high-resolution, sharp and crisp than any digital camera out there, but the slowness is a great boon to some of us who have a tendency to rush. Just as oil paints allow a painter to work over the canvas for an elongated period, the large format process draws out the act of photographing from a snapshot moment to a thoughtful 20 minutes or more. The medium simply dictates a different mode of working, and that choice can have a massive affect on the final product (just as the choice between oil and water color would).
The Intrepid Camera is going to be the perfect 4×5 for this residency in Svalbard, and probably for a lot of work thereafter. I’ll be sure to report back on its performance upon my return, and I look forward to sharing some of the great images I take with you all, too!
I’m incredibly pleased to talk a bit about the work of one of my MFA classmates and dearest friends, Emilie Lundstrøm. A native of Denmark, Emilie grew up on a tiny island, sailing to school every day and living deeply in tune with the natural world around her. Working with a repetition of shapes and organic materials, her work reflects her nordic heritage as well as her profound curiosity for and love of nature.
A sculptural installation by Emilie Lundstrøm
Little fox made by Emilie Lundstrøm
Emilie and I had many opportunities to work together during our time in the MFA program at ICP-Bard, from books
to installing our thesis shows back-to-back. I’m super pleased to be working with her again on a big project, bringing her heritage and norse mythology into conversation with my experience in Svalbard and the history of exploration in the arctic. We’re hoping for this collaboration to produce at least a show, if not books in addition.
Sculpture by Emilie Lundstrøm
Sculptural installation by Emilie Lundstrøm
Sculpture of handmade ceramic flutes with tubing and artist, Emilie Lundstrøm
I can’t wait to fill you all in on more details, but that will have to wait for a while yet! Until then, peruse some of Emilie’s amazing work
and maybe get yourself a Valkyrie for a little extra luck and protection.
Worn into battle by the Vikings and found in ancient burial contexts, the Valkyrie is a symbol or protection, fortitude and luck.
Emilie has given me some of her handmade ceramic and porcelain Valkyries for my journey north!