Recent news reported in National Geographic that areas of Siberian permafrost may no longer be freezing – even in the Arctic winter – was surprising. What wasn't surprising was that photographer Katie Orlinsky was on the case. Orlinsky has been making distinguished contributions to our understanding of the Arctic world with sympathetic yet probing photographs of the people who live there. Since 2014 she has been working on a long-term photographic project exploring how climate change is challenging communities across Alaska, and transforming the relationship between people, animals and the land.
Look particularly at her project Chasing Winter to see how she has brought both truth and respect to the daily lives of the native people of Alaska as they hunt – and co-exist – with the wildlife of this frozen world. And take a look at how her diptychs in Spring Thaw bring insight into the dynamic seasons that are too often overlooked.
Photographing the Arctic tundra is not an easy task, nor is it easy to gain the trust and respect of the people who live there (and who have too often been exploited by facile images that simply reinforce stereotypes.) Katie Orlinsky is a photographer worth watching as she continues to find both insight and beauty in her subjects.