“You cannot fake time.” This wisdom was told to me in the early days of my photo career. I understood what it meant: that if you want to make a true document of a place or subject, you must put in that time. I have been fortunate enough to have been working in Antarctica since 2004, almost every year until the coronavirus pandemic happened. When I left Antarctica in February of 2020, I had no idea that I might not ever make it back due to a global pandemic.
I fell in love almost 20 years ago when I saw my first iceberg on the Weddell Sea. Nothing boggles the mind as easily as beholding a massive tabular iceberg that renders your ship insignificant. If you are lucky, the light will kiss those epic drifting colossuses — it’s a sort of magic.
It was the longest night of the year here on the Weddell Sea. On the solstice, the sunset and sunrise happen side by side on the horizon — only two hours apart. The colors of the sunset merged into the colors of the sunrise. On this particular occasion we had windless, glassy conditions. It felt surreal — the neon colors, the symmetry, and the pieces of ice — like a dream on a distant planet.
Photographer Camille Seaman believes in capturing images that articulate how humans are not separate from nature. Born to a Native American father and African American mother, Seaman’s sense of connection with nature stems from the influence of her Shinnecock Indian grandfather on Long Island, New York. She graduated from the State University of New York at Purchase where she studied photography with Jan Groover and John Cohen. She has spent the last two decades documenting the rapidly changing landscapes of Earth’s polar regions — from South Georgia, the Falkland Islands, and below the Antarctic Circle, to Greenland, Canada, and beyond. Her photographs have been published in National Geographic. Her work has also appeared in Outside, TIME, the New York Times Magazine, American Photo, and German GEO, among other outlets. Seaman has been a TED Senior Fellow since 2013, and was also named a Stanford Knight Fellow and a Cinereach Filmmaker in Residence Fellow. She leads photographic workshops all over the globe, and enjoys inspiring others to develop a unique visual voice.
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A Matter of Time: Returning to Antarctica in the time of Covid
Featuring: Camille Seaman
Curated by: Sam Barzilay
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