In late 2019, Jan Erik Waider boarded the Bark Europa, a 56-meter-long wooden sailing ship constructed in 1911, bound for the Antarctic Peninsula. The Hamburg-based photographer, whose work centers on polar landscapes (previously), captured the multifaceted forms of glaciers and icebergs, steely grays of storms, and shrouds of mist during the 24-day voyage. Waider is known for his documentation of dramatic northern destinations like Iceland, Norway, and Greenland, and a trip to the southern extreme proffered an opportunity to expand on his series of atmospheric vistas with the project A Faint Resemblance.
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Antarctica is approximately 98% covered in ice and nearly doubles in size in the winter when the sea freezes around its periphery. In summer, the sheets break up and calve thousands of icebergs, many of which are so vast that they can be measured in square miles. Waider captured the spectral forms of these floating, icy islands as the ship rounded the coastline, drifting through patches of fog that added an extra element of surprise when it cleared to reveal a new scene. “The infinite shapes and textures of icebergs in the polar regions fascinate me again and again,” he says, adding that “the proportions are unimaginable, considering that the largest part is still under water.” Waider is always astonished by the spectrum of the color blue, which on cloudy days can appear even more vibrant, as if glowing from within.
The poles have seen record warmth and ice melt in the past few years, which contributes to rising sea levels and alters the region’s ecosystems. Waider says, “I’m really drawn to landscapes that are transforming or vanishing like icebergs and glaciers. It has a fascinating and also a sad element, and every photo is a snapshot of a moment which is long gone by now.”
Waider is preparing to publish a photo book of more images from his Antarctica trip, emphasizing a holistic interpretation of the continent’s landscape, nature, wildlife, historic sites and the Bark Europa. Find more of his work on his website and Behance.
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