By Daniel Zvereff (zvare-if) – Sundown United // Brooklyn
“Introspective” began with the idea to photographically document the arctic and sub-arctic regions of six different countries using some of the last remaining Kodak Aerochrome infrared film in existence. Due to political and economic pressures for development that are beginning to overrule environmental preservation, not to mention the effects of a warming climate, the Arctic, as we know it today, will soon be unrecognizable. My journey of roughly three months took many unexpected turns, including living for a week in rural villages of Kenya and watching a father and son gut a seal in Greenland. Yet, the more zig-zagging around the world I did, the more it seemed everything was connected. “Introspective” became a personal Odyssey, one of searching for inner clarity by seeing and photographing the marvels of the natural world.(continued below..)
I arrived in Greenland without any cash and discovered there are no banks or ATMs. Considering it is one of the most hostile environments on the planet, and there is only one fully booked hotel, it is rather discomforting to be empty-handed.
As I walk from the airport towards Kulusuk, fog conceals everything from my view. The eerie silence that amplifies the mysterious landscape is only disturbed by the sounds of my feet crunching on the gravel road below. Suddenly, a violent rumbling approaches me from behind. Turning, I am greeted by an Inuit man on a quad, who signals to the back of his ride, and I oblige and jump on.
As we navigate through the mist with a sharp cold wind in our faces, slow moving shadows emerge from the landscape in the distance as we near Kulusuk. The man lets me off at a fork and points down to the right; I thank him and continue on. The stillness is replaced by high-pitched yelps, and shadows in the fog approach me to reveal themselves as dogs chained to the ground with thick steel chains that span 15 feet. As I cautiously pass, they temporarily stop fighting amongst themselves to stare inquisitively at me.
I follow the yelps until I can make out houses and a small lake. Here my path crosses a huge pool of blood and a glossy inside-out mass on the ground that no longer resembles anything alive. A father and son are gutting one adult and one baby seal. They stop momentarily at my intrusion, smile, and motion that it is OK for me to remain. The dogs are going berserk–they will be fed the heads, and it will be days before they eat again. I have never seen anything like this before.