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Photoshelter Interview: The Cold Edge

Photoshelter Interview of Dave Walsh on The Cold Edge

Thanks to Lauren Margolis, and the guys over at Photoshelter for taking time out of mopping after the recent Hurricane Sandy, to publish a fun Q&A with me about photographing in icy and very sunny conditions.

Lauren writes:

Picture this: You’re out on a ship in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. From afar, the icebergs look like moderately-sized chunks. But as you get closer, you realize that your little ship dwarfs in comparison to these monstrous beings, and they’re actually not still at all, but slowly bobbing in the water. And every now and then, a hunk (the size of your head? your car? you can’t tell from here) breaks off the side.

It might sound nerve-racking, but polar and environmental photographer Dave Walsh lives for this kind of adventure. “The frozen regions of our planet have the power to ignite imaginations,” says Dave, “but for most of the 7 billion people on Earth, the Arctic and Antarctic remain abstract and unreachable.”

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The Cold Edge on Discovery News

The Cold Edge by Dave Walsh on Discovery News

Great news: A selection of images from The Cold Edge series has been featured by the Discovery News homepage!

The Arctic is changing. Summer sea ice extent this year was at its lowest in the satellite record as global warming tightens its grip. But change is relative. At their most hostile, the polar regions remain cold and forbidding: as photographer Dave Walsh calls them in his new book, “The Cold Edge” of the planet.

Walsh, who has traveled to Arctic and Antarctic multiple times over the last several years, launched his book with an exhibit at the Copper House Gallery in his native Ireland. “I wanted my photographs” – such as this iceberg, a bright blue as a result of ice being compressed for thousands of years – “to inspire people to not only fall in love with their home planet, but to start giving a damn and take action to protect it.” says Walsh.

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Interview with Roger Overall, on the Documentary Photographer Podcast

Iceberg: ice formations on an iceberg, Kane Basin, Northwest Greenland.
Things to lament, things to celebrate: Last week I had the pleasure of spending on hour on Skype with Roger Overall, who runs the insightful Documentary Photographer podcast, talking about photography, the state of the planet, and the relationship between the photographer and the eventual viewer.
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2XM Cold Edge Radio interview with Dave Walsh

Glacier Ice in Prins Christiansund

When I was in Dublin recently, for the launch of my Cold Edge exhibition at the Copper House Gallery, I met up with Vanessa Monaghan, who interviewed me for Ireland’s RTE 2XM radio show Culture Cafe. In the interview, I talk about the inspirations and passions that drive my work, and what draws me to the magical Arctic and Antarctic ecosystems. The Arctic and Antarctic are part of our planet – and the Arctic is not far away from Ireland – the earth is a closed, finite system – the polar regions are part of our life. It’s now threatened by pollution, and resource exploitation.

Listen to the Cold Edge Interview » (MP3, 9.7MB, 10 minutes)
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The Cold Edge Launch at the Copper House Gallery

Cold Edge Launch, photo (c) Alex Yallop
The Cold Edge Launch, photo © Alex Yallop

Introduced by curator Leszek Wolnik, and poet Duncan Cleary, my Cold Edge Exhibition opened on September 13th 2012, in Dublin’s Copper House Gallery, Dublin, featuring 16 limited editions prints of my polar photographs. It both was sobering and exciting to enter the gallery earlier in the day to see the work made flesh – the images that have been part of my life, part of my mind for so long, now printed, huge, and hung upon a gallery wall. From that moment, I realised, the pictures are no longer really mine – I’ve shared them with the wider world, for people to impose their own expectations and assumptions upon them. I’m quite happy about this, I have no interest in stifling my work, or worrying the chance that someone might misinterpret it. It’s out there, wild, and free to be interpreted.

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The Cold Edge: The Book

The Cold Edge Book by Dave Walsh Polar Photography
To celebrate the launch of the Cold Edge exhibition of my polar photography in Dublin, on September 13, I’ve created a beautiful 60-page eponymous book, The Cold Edge, via Blurb – print and iPad version. I’ve brought together some of what I hope are ethereal, emotional photographs of the unforgiving wilderness, wild animals and blue icebergs question our romantic relationship with remote, harsh and pristine environments. Images that resonate with a quiet tension; all may not be right in the Garden of Eden.
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The Cold Edge: Polar Photography Exhibition Dublin

The Cold Exhibition Dave Walsh

Update: Pictures from the Cold Edge Opening night

Blog from the Cold Edge launch

There comes a time in a photographer’s life when (s)he finally gets to announce the Big News; a first major solo exhibition. It’s unnerving, exciting, heartening, and reassuring. There’s also the sense of achievement, and a feeling of “yes, I was right to hammer away so for many years on something I care passionately about”. And so, many, many thanks to Leszek Wolnik, at The Copper House Gallery in Dublin who has invited me to show my work on September 13th, 2012.
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Hans Island Debacle Nearing A Solution?

Hans Island
Our ship approaches a smooth dome of barren rock, worn clean by several millennia of glacial endeavor, in a lonely Arctic waterway, farm from the nearest human settlement. It’s July 2009, and I’m board the Greenpeace ship Arctic sunrise, on a four-month expedition with glacialogists and climatalogists on Greenland’s glaciers – and how they’re reacting to climate change. I made some lovely images while on board, too, and here’s a blog about Fata Morgana – Mirages in Nares Strait.

Apart from a tiny weather station, there’s feck all here – yet Hans Island has spent decades at the centre of a sometimes surreal territorial dispute.

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Book Cover: Teach Us to Sit Still by Tim Parks

Tim Parks: Teach Us To Sit Still Cover by Photographer Dave Walsh

I’ve just found out today that, thanks to the team at Millennium Images, an image from my Bull Island series has been used as the cover of Tim Parks’ book, Teach Us to Sit Still. I have not read the book, or held a copy in my hand, but every review I’ve looked at today suggests that like my other recent book cover, Rebecca Solnit’s The Book of Migrations, I will be proud to have my photograph associated with Parks’ work.
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My work featured in The Shot

The Shot: Isle of the Dead, Dave Walsh

A portfolio of five of my photographs has been featured in issue four of the excellent Irish photography magazine The Shot. A big thanks to editors Karl and John who are masterminding the project; each issue showcases five photographers with five images each, and five hundred words to talk about themselves and their photography. The current issue includes an interview with Anthony Haughey
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Book Cover: A Book of Migrations

The Book of Migrations by Rebecca Solnit

In all my years as a writer, I’ve written many book reviews. But I’ve never before reviewed a book that uses one of my photographs as its cover. I’m talking about The Book of Migrations: Some Passages in Ireland, by Rebecca Solnit, which has been a joy to read, and an honour to become connected with. I was unaware of Solnit’s work until May 24th of this year, when I read her insightful article the Strauss-Kahn affair, colonisation and the IMF: Worlds Collide in a Luxury Suite. That afternoon, I received an email from Bob Bhamra, of Verso Books, asking me if he could use my image of the Burren for a new editon of The Book of Migrations. Serendipity. We cut a deal.
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Arctic Tern, Angelic

Arctic Tern, sterna paradisea, hovering near the dog yard Ny Alesund, Svalbard. Arctic terns migrate more than any other species bird – up to 35,000km per year for some birds, as the travel to Antarctica and back, and can enjoy two polar summers. The terns nest in the tundra in the scientific research centre of Ny Alesund, where they lay eggs, and tend to attack passersby in self-defence.
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Tulip Mania: Photographing People Photographing Flowers

Woman in blue jeans photographing flowers at the Keukenhof

Photographing flowers and undwear at the Keukenhof

Photographing People, Photographing flowers. An ugly, and probably mildly tasteless set of images, where I photograph people photographing flowers, and often show off their backsides along the way. Images made on April 2011 at the Keukenhof tulip show at Lisse, Netherlands.

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Urban Ocean: Gulf of Mexico

Transocean Development Driller rigs in squall at Deepwater Horizon disaster site.

Transocean Development Driller rigs in squall at Deepwater Horizon disaster site.

It has taken not much more than half a century to turn the Gulf of Mexico into an Urban Ocean, dotted with 27,000 abandoned wells, and nearly 4,000 active platforms, interconnected by an incredible 40,000km of pipelines. At sea, no matter where you are in the northern Gulf of Mexico, you can see the blinking lights of an oil platform, a small steel city unto itself, or perhaps a rusting ghost town. The Deepwater Horizon disaster, in April 2010 drew attention to this industrialisation of the Gulf, and hinted to the public the existence a scarred landscape that exists just over the horizon from the shorelines of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. In September 2010, I worked on board a Greenpeace ship carrying out research to measure the impact of the oil spill, from where I got to observe the oil rigs drafted into the Deepwater Horizon site dwarfed by powerful rainstorms, and the wildlife that still prevails – the hummingbirds, the sperm whales, the flying fish and the powerful rainstorms.

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