Stephan Jahanshahi

We Draw The Lines, But The Weather Decides
2016-2019

No landscape was ever made without a social or political agenda. It is irrefutable that the world is changing because of mankind, but what that change means is a much more complicated, chaotic and beautiful story than the one presented in an evening news cycle.

These images were made in Svalbard, an archipelago 1,200 miles north of Norway above the Arctic Circle, in the summer of 2016. Seeing the warmest year on record for the region, I was struck by how completely the environment would change depending on the weather. The photographs presented here are poems on the fluidity of place, celebrating the multitude of a landscape that refused to be any one thing.

The scale of images, as well as their vertical compositions expresses the weight and power the weather imposes upon the land. The title is a quote taken from the lead guide Sarah’s explanation of her decision process when planning the landings we would attempt; that we were ultimately under the jurisdiction of the elements. My goal is to broaden the dialogue surrounding climate change, showing the many ways in which a threatened environment responds to
transformation.

-2019


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