We rode for five days over an expanse of sea ice. The horizon was scattered with the memory of winter, and pieces of purple and amber mountains peeked through the eternal white snow. The light descends slowly this time of year and it draws out that delicious final hour of sunset glow upon the icebergs. Qaanaaq Greenland is one of the northern most inhabited places on the planet. We're there on location for our two year photo-documentary project 70 Degrees West.
Our project started much like anything else, one seemingly unachievable dream that hatched eight months ago. Photographer Justin Lewis and I began a two year expedition to share how traditional ways of life are at risk as human demands on the natural world increase.
In April, as the days grew longer, 36 paws trotted to a rhythm set by our dogsled driver Martika, and the days began and ended with a symphony of sounds as the sled cut gently through the icy snow. The crisp air carried resonating pops and cracks from looming translucent blue icebergs. In that solitude of natures wildest terrain, you could almost hear your heart beat.
Steadily we glided further up fjords and along glacier heads. We sat atop two reindeer hides from our guide Martika's previous successful hunts while he was clad in seal skin boots lined with polar bear fur. This balance between man, animal and nature has kept the Inuit culture alive for hundreds of years atop the world's largest island.
Weaving our paired art mediums with the world's current realities, we aim to contribute to the rise in global consciousness. Journeying into the heart of Greenland's northern most communities, we witnessed the layered complexities of the Inuit culture stuck in transition. Many people desire a modern world existence despite the brutal and isolated landscape. Others remain hopeful that Greenlandic traditions will continue as an integral part of Inuit culture. With recent decades of rapid exponential change, the question remains, how is the global human spirit adapting?
From Greenland to Antarctica, in places where life is about basic survival, there are stories that the greater world needs to hear. We intend to capture these accounts to further preserve the habitats, cultures, diversity and richness of life on Earth.
We invite you to join our expedition and share the sights, sounds and stories of our journey. If you want to trek along, check out our website and blog at 70degreeswest.com.