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Polar Dawn: Ross Brown Chases a Childhood Dream in Greenland

Polar Dawn: Ross Brown Chases a Childhood Dream in Greenland

For a personal project, Auckland-based commercial photographer Ross Brown travelled to western Greenland on the cusp of spring, just as the polar night — where the sun never lifts above the horizon — was breaking. “The sun travels in a very low arc, one degree below the horizon. It felt like you were at dusk or dawn the whole day.”

Brown had one goal: to photograph brand-new icebergs. He spent eight days beside the Kangia icefjord, where icebergs calve, or break off, from the Jakobshavn Isbræ glacier, float down the fjord and out to sea, travelling down the coast of Canada. A Kangia iceberg is blamed for the sinking of the Titanic. “Icebergs are just one of those mysterious things that most of the world’s population will never see,” he says. “Some of them are the size of a city block, some of them are 70 metres high, Goliaths that tip over and change shape.”

© Ross Brown

Icebergs look their best when skies are overcast, he says, the flat light bringing out the texture of the ice. Especially when tinted by sunlight from just under the horizon. Up close, they fizz — it’s the sound of oxygen bubbles being released. “It’s like listening to a bottle of soda, you can hear it bubbling away.”

The photographs he made, are also an oblique documentation of climate change, he says. “There used to be permafrost in most of Greenland, but the ground has gone so soft that some buildings have completely bowed and bent.”

© Ross Brown

Photographer’s website: rossbrownphotographer.com

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