ANTARCTICA - AN EXHIBITION AT HOTEL SKEPPSHOLMEN
In November 2017 I embarked on a ship from the Falkland Islands to Antarctica as expedition photographer for the Lewis Pugh Foundation and UN Environment. Lewis Pugh (lewispugh.com) is a fearless ocean swimmer, lawyer and appointed UN Patron of the Oceans (unenvironment.org) – striving towards securing the largest marine protected area in the world, around the entire continent of Antarctica, by the year 2020. The team around Lewis consisted of doctor, filmmakers, drone operator, rescue paddlers, coordinator, and writers.
All 15 images at Hotel Skeppsholmen were from this expedition. All art work is signed and numbed in an edition of 25.
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Isn't he cold?
Oh yes. Lewis is actually terrified of the dangerously low temperatures everytime he goes in the water. But he persists of doing these long distance swims in the 'British channel swimmers' association dress code' - which is speedos, cap and goggles. No grease, no wetsuit. Just one stubborn South African.
Why is he doing this?
Lewis has a life long passion for the world's oceans, and their well-being, and now as appointed UN Patron of the Oceans, he uses these spectacular expeditions to raise awareness (he gets massive pr traction in UK media and online after each swim) and then travels between Moscow, London, and NY to negotiate stricter environmental protection directly with the politicians in charge.
What's the purpose of the images?
The still photography was and is being used as content for social media, and has gone out to world wide press covering United Nations Environment Program, and the campaign that Lewis is spear heading. In the team, were also a filmmaker from UNEP and a drone operator.
How do you get to Antarctica?
Antarctica is huge, and if you approach it from the north like we did - aiming at the Wedell Sea and the Antarctic Peninsula, the natural starting point is the Falkland Islands. But since Argentina still blocks almost all south American nations from transfering travellers to the Falklands (still a bad vibe since the war) you can either fly in from Punta Arenas (Chile) or catch a ride with a British military plane from the RAF base Brize Norton outside Oxford, England. Which I did. There are a select number of commercial cruise ships doing this route, most start out in Montevideo - Uruguay.
What's the environmental threat to this region?
We passed South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, which is UK territory. This is an intensely unique biodiversity hotspot, but only 2% of these waters are protected (against industrial fishing and exploitation). The same goes for the waters around Antarctica, which is governed by the 'Antarctic Treaty' from the mid 60's, where a bunch of nations have agreed to protecting the continent, but not necessarily its waters. Global warming is one issue, but also industrial fishing of Krill, and plastic pollution.
What's next for Lewis?
Being a former SAS, as well as a Cambridge lawyer - he is always aiming ahead at the next obstacle. The Arctic is actually an even more pressing environmental issue, and Lewis has already done amazing swims and campaigns there - one of them being the first person to swim across the North Pole in 2007. He will most certainly return to this region for more fun stuff and unthinkable swims in the summer of 2019, so stay tuned.