Skip to product information
1 of 4

78 Degrees North (Colour)

78 Degrees North (Colour)

Regular price $ 99,999.00
Regular price Sale price $ 99,999.00
Sale Sold

Have questions about this Product?

Svalbard, Norway 2017

37” x 57” Unframed 52” x 72” Framed Edition of 12
56” x 87” Unframed 71” x 102” Framed Edition of 12

I should start by saying I have generally been disappointed by my own work with polar bears in Svalbard. This is a giant’s kingdom, and my images from previous trips have been too marginal to do either the giants or their kingdom justice. Luck evens itself out, but nature can seem cruel in its distribution of content, and in this barren archipelago, I don’t recall many favors until June 2017.

There is no doubt in my mind that this photograph of a big male polar bear lends weight to the contention that wildlife photography does not have to be reportage—it can be art. The photograph is elevated rather than weakened by the negative space and the bear’s anonymity. Since 2011, I have spent more than 30 days shooting in Svalbard, and this is my favorite image of a polar bear in this part of the Arctic. Indeed, the more I look at it, the prouder I am. As my fellow Scottish photographer and friend the great Harry Benson once said, “Great images can never be repeated.” Others will decide if this is a great image, but it certainly won’t be repeated.

The distinctive pads on the sole of his foot immediately grab the eye. The central pad, which resembles the Nike “swoosh,” is the epicenter of a photograph that owes its differentiating content entirely to this right foot. The image is made complete by its own lack of completeness; the storytelling is started by the camera and finished by the viewer. We are asked to finish the story, not just read it, and the spartan economy of the narrative helps along the way. Less is more in the Arctic. Its beauty is in its simplicity and the enormity of the white detail. It conveys a true sense of place.

David Yarrow

+ Share

View full details