Expedition photographer Camille Seaman's stunning images of Antarctica shine a spotlight on global warming

 

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The Independent Culture

Respect for nature was drilled into Camille Seaman from a young age, as part of her Native American upbringing.

"My family raised me to know that I was part of a larger, interconnected ecosystem, that I was literally part of this planet, that all of the creatures I share it with are related to me directly," says the 45-year-old, daughter to an African-American mother and a father who belonged to the Shinnecock, a small fishing tribe living at the eastern end of Long Island, New York. "I was taught that we are not above or separate from this thing we call 'nature'."

It is a humility that served the TED senior fellow and expedition photographer well as she spent a decade documenting the landscapes of Svalbard, Greenland, the Canadian Arctic and Antarctica. "The poles are unforgiving and hostile places, meant to remind us that we exist in a fragile and precarious pale-blue dot in space," she says.

 

When she started shooting the breathtaking blues and greys in 2003, Seaman had little idea about global warming and climate change. "I made images simply to share the awesomeness and beauty that was part of our home," she says. "But as the years passed, I could not help but become aware that the changes to the landscape I was witnessing were happening not in geological time but within my own, human scale.

"There is a quality of light and stillness that exists in these polar regions unlike any other place on our planet," adds Seaman, now based in Emeryville, California. "But as they melted away in front of my lens, I wondered whether my grandchildren would have this place to honour and witness in 50 or 100 years' time."

'Melting Away' by Camille Seaman is published by Princeton Architectural Press, priced £35

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