Greenland through a lens

Our decision to shoot our Greenland Updated collection in Greenland was a no-brainer. After all, it was a 1966 expedition to Greenland that provided the inspiration for our first Greenland product. But there was also another reason, one that was deeper and more profound.

Since that expedition in 1966, summer melts of the Greenland ice sheet have increased in both scale and length. This particular ice sheet (the second biggest in the world after the Antarctic ice sheet), has a pivotal role in global climate change. Its sheer sun-reflecting ability moderates global temperatures, while its meltwater mitigates ocean circulation patterns. If the entire ice sheet were to melt, global sea levels would rise by 7.2m. Unsurprisingly, scientists are worried.

View over Greenland glacier
"We hear a lot about the Greenland ice sheet in the media, but it's impossible to comprehend. Here you can see the ice sheet meeting into the sea. In the distance it extends into the horizon, almost unendingly. Then in the foreground, you see all the different textures where the ice sheet has eroded the rock on its way into the ocean."

It’s for this reason we decided to combine our photo shoot on Greenland with a journey of discovery. To do this, we hooked up with two climate scientists: Gabriel Lewis and Karina Graeter. And to ensure we captured both our new collection of clothing and gear, and the vitality and grandeur of the Greenland ice sheet – in such a way as to be able to highlight its plight – we worked with award-winning photographer, Klaus Thymann.

Gabriel standing in-between ice
"This is a combination of two shots, because it wasn't possible to capture the scale in just one image. Gabriel is standing at the end of this ice cave. As much as it's ice, it's not stable. The glacier is moving. So Gabriel isn't standing under any ice. I love the different textures here. And with Gabriel there you get a sense of scale."

Klaus has worked with visual storytelling since he was 15. Over the course of his extensive career, he has focused on mapping – whether that be physically or sociologically. This led him to initiate Project Pressure in 2008, a charity that documents glaciers around the world in the hope of bringing about change. So he was an obvious choice as photographer and creative director for our Greenland Updated photoshoot.

“Photography has allowed me to pursue what I’m passionate about. Conceptual mapping is ingrained in my work. And with Project Pressure, I’ve travelled to maybe 25 different countries, to places like DR Congo, Uganda and Iran, where people don’t expect to see glaciers, to bring back imagery that can be surprising. I want to tell a cohesive story, but also hopefully bring about change in people’s thinking and lifestyle.”

Gabriel and Karina ice core drilling from above.
"This is the scene of Gabriel and Karina ice core drilling from above. You get a sense of just how small we are, as humans. This is in stark contrast to the large impact humans are having on the Greenland ice sheet. This is really humbling."

Klaus is not your average photographer. He’s grown up in a family surrounded by science, with his mother working as a forensic scientist and his father as a veterinarian. He's even got a degree in environmental science under his belt enabling him to “talk about complex subjects in a way that doesn’t over-simplify, but can still be understood by everyone.”

Gabriel and Karina drilling for ice cores.
"This is Gabriel and Karina drilling for ice cores. In the background is glacier ice. To get an ice core, you first need to make a pit by shovelling out the snow down to the ice, then start drilling."

He’s worked with a wide variety of clients, but always brings a documentary-style to his photography. And this is exactly what he did in Greenland with us.

“Working with Gabriel and Karina was really inspiring. I love capturing people doing their passion. And that work is really important. I think it’s brave of Fjällräven to take this step and collaborate with these scientists like this.”

Karina standing infront of a Greenland village.
"One thing that's unique about Greenland is all the different colours of the houses, in contrast to the white or hash stony landscape. We wanted to show this and mirror it with Karina's clothes."
Gabriel standing infront of the ocean and mountains.
"We were shooting a spring/summer collection in April. And there was a lot of snow, more than normal, which didn't help things. So we changed our plans a little and went to some thermal hot springs. So this meant there was a micro-climate around there. We could see this red heather and mosses, which gave it a warmer look, which looks great with the snow and icebergs in the background."

You can read more about Gabriel’s and Karina’s research here.

Images: Klaus Thymann


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