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The Svalbard archipelago is halfway between Scandinavia and the North Pole. The dramatic landscape here includes hundreds of islands, rugged mountains and deep fjords, many of which are covered by glaciers. Photo: Fredrik Granath & Bruno Östling
The Svalbard archipelago is halfway between Scandinavia and the North Pole. The dramatic landscape here includes hundreds of islands, rugged mountains and deep fjords, many of which are covered by glaciers. Photo: Fredrik Granath & Bruno Östling

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See the extreme beauty of the North

For 15 years, writer, photographer and film maker Fredrik Granath has documented the changes taking place in the Arctic region. Now he works on a new project, ”Ground Zero”, with award winning photographer Brutus Östling. Their photos tell a story of extreme beauty.

When Fredrik Granath returns from the Arctic, often in June, it takes him a couple of days to re-adjust to urban life in Stockholm.

 “The Arctic region has become my life,” Granath says. “I spend up to ten months at a time there – it’s as much home as Stockholm is.”

But the lifestyle, Granath says, is tough. “A lot of my time goes to maintaining the camp, washing dishes, and preparing food. There’s not as much time for taking photos as you might think.”
It’s like stepping back into the hard life of a previous century. But the Arctic climate, Granath says, is not like it was in the past.
Places he used to reach on foot just ten years ago are now only accessible by boat. It’s a change that both saddens and angers him.

“The situation also makes me want to act,” Granath says. “The discussion around climate change and the Arctic ice melting should be more than just figures and charts. The problem is real, and you can see it with your own eyes.”

Text: Risto Pakarinen

Take a look at the beautiful pictures from Fredrik Granath and Bruno Östling in the slideshow below. Read more about their project Ground Zero.

  • With a population of around 3,000, polar bears outnumber humans in the archipelago. Avoid venturing outside of the city without a local guide. Photo: Fredrik Granath & Brutus Östling
    With a population of around 3,000, polar bears outnumber humans in the archipelago. Avoid venturing outside of the city without a local guide. Photo: Fredrik Granath & Brutus Östling
  • Svalbard’s rich wildlife includes Arctic foxes, Svalbard reindeer, seals, walruses and whales. Photo: Fredrik Granath & Brutus Östling
    Svalbard’s rich wildlife includes Arctic foxes, Svalbard reindeer, seals, walruses and whales. Photo: Fredrik Granath & Brutus Östling
  • From April through August, the midnight sun lights up the archipelago. Photo: Fredrik Granath & Brutus Östling
    From April through August, the midnight sun lights up the archipelago. Photo: Fredrik Granath & Brutus Östling
  • In winter, from October to March, it’s a world of snow and ice. Polar nights are long and dark – the only light sources are the moon, the stars and the Aurora Borealis. Photo: Fredrik Granath & Brutus Östling
    In winter, from October to March, it’s a world of snow and ice. Polar nights are long and dark – the only light sources are the moon, the stars and the Aurora Borealis. Photo: Fredrik Granath & Brutus Östling
  • The climate is milder than you may expect due to the Gulf Stream. Photo: Fredrik Granath & Brutus Östling
    The climate is milder than you may expect due to the Gulf Stream. Photo: Fredrik Granath & Brutus Östling
  • Longyearbyen has only 50km of roads, and they don’t connect to other communities. It may feel like another planet, but it’s just a three-hour flight from Oslo. Photo: Fredrik Granath & Brutus Östling
    Longyearbyen has only 50km of roads, and they don’t connect to other communities. It may feel like another planet, but it’s just a three-hour flight from Oslo. Photo: Fredrik Granath & Brutus Östling
  • The main settlement on Svalbard is Longyearbyen, a former coal-mining community with a population of around 2,000. Photo: Fredrik Granath & Brutus Östling
    The main settlement on Svalbard is Longyearbyen, a former coal-mining community with a population of around 2,000. Photo: Fredrik Granath & Brutus Östling

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