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“Getting integrated in daily life and society, while documenting the beauty as well as impact on this vulnerable arctic region, is an important, fulfilling, yet sometimes difficult task”.

Apr 9, 2022
Christian Clauwers, Belgian adventurer and explorer, is currently busy shooting the fishing community at Lofoten archipelago, Norway. A part of the arctic circle. His work covers the world’s oceans and the polar regions whilst focusing on documenting the vulnerable relation and potential conflict between man and nature.
Christian’s journeys have taken him to the polar extremes of our planet: from 78° North to 78° South. He has already circled the globe twice and has explored over 114 countries across all 7 continents. He has sailed the five oceans and explored their islands, including some of the most remote on the planet, witnessed by few.

Praveen Gupta: Temperatures of Arctic and Antarctica at 30 and 40 degrees Celsius respectively higher than the normal sounds bizarre?

Christian Clauwers: It is bizarre. The pace is most concerning. It has happened so fast. We cannot talk of this as a normal cyclic happening like the ice age process. The problem is the speed of global warming and melting of polar ice caps. Polar regions are like a barometer. They indicate the global climate system.

PG: As a close observer are you alarmed with these spikes?

CC: We should be concerned about the change of pace and the declining biodiversity.

As an observer and photographer specialising in impact on polar regions, I have witnessed myself abnormal changes over time. Especially in the Svalbard archipelago during 2013 and now. I can see the evolution during these 10 years in quite a negative way – concerning ice melting and melt water. I am a witness to what is going on.

Christian scouts the least explored corners of the planet, places which are often hostile, dark, wild, and uninviting, in his quest to reveal their truth. He expects the viewers to appreciate the unparalleled beauty of the natural world and to become more conscious of its fragility.

PG: What might result from this that people should be mindful of?

CC: Every one can contribute by living in a conscious and responsible way. We are all part of the same planet. Everything we do is the cause of the same whole. We are all in the same boat.

PG: No world leader seems to have had time to even comment on an existential situation such as this?

CC: I disagree slightly. Lot of world leaders have spoken out. We are living in a world which consists of influence of power. India, China, the US, Europe and many more. The European powers had their moment or chance in the nineteenth century and the US in the twentieth. At the COP26 India said we will achieve NetZero only by 2070. That’s a problem. If one of the powers pulls back a little bit, another one could follow the suit. They may say it will be a burden on our economic growth.

PG: With the fishing community – you must share some insights on fishing?

CC: Here at Lofoten fish stocks have been going down, the winter cod “skrei” doesn’t migrate southwards to the extent they did, compared to some years ago. Island communities on Lofoten islands depend heavily on this. Also stockfish, the traditional way of drying fish on wooden racks is becoming more problematic: due to rain, the fish doesn’t dry from the inside out so easily anymore, instead it rots from the outside. 

PG: Happy shooting, Christian! I sincerely hope that you do see some positive signals whilst at the Arctic circle.

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