Mendocino, California native Justin Lewis was nurtured in the raw and rustic Pacific Northwest, where he honed a keen eye for capturing images that instill wonder and inspire action. Having traveled to over forty five countries and featured in many major global magazines, Justin has woven his photography career seamlessly into his lifestyle of exploration and conservation. As an artist, Justin finds inspiration in beauty, and finds beauty in nature.
Justin has spent the last two years dedicating his life to an eight phase photo-documentary project called 70 Degrees West. The project follows a single line of longitude from Greenland to Antarctica, illustrating the impact our modern civilization has on fragile eco-regions and cultures who dwell there. His photography hopes to expand global awareness of environments at risk by capturing the extreme landscape while also giving a voice to the battles each region faces both environmentally and socially. For more information, including slide shows and two video shorts, visit www.70degreeswest.com For more of Justin Lewis’s photography, visit www.justinlewis.com
Here are a few images from Phase I – Greenland: Thule Hunter
It is said that Greenland’s Inuit name, Kalaallit Nunaat, means “The Land of Man.” To the Greenlandic natives, it is home, where the dark days and sunlit nights demand the human spirit to endure at all costs. Here, a sled driver and dog team rest for a moment under the arch of a looming translucent blue iceberg frozen in the sea ice.
The life of a dog sled driver is one of patience and discipline. Nine Greenlandic Arctic dogs rest during a long trek across the ice. Greenlandic Arctic sled dogs are only exist north of the Arctic Circle and found no where else in the world.
The magic of Northern Greenland’s midnight sun is filled with stunning beauty and extreme isolation. This image was taken at 3 o’clock in the morning where a tidal pond formed on the surface of the sea ice. Salt water was forced up through cracks in the sea ice as the oceans tide came up.
Spring time comes to Ilulissat, Greenland and the fisherman begin to venture out into the recently broken chunks of looming sea ice. Eager to get out fishing, some fisherman launch their boats into the Arctic waters, delicately navigating through chunks and sheets of ice.
Thomas Martika Qujaukitsoq was born in Qaanaaq, Greenland, one of the northern most municipalities in the world. He wears a reindeer jacket his grandmother hand-stitched for him when he was a young man. Although he has hunted extensively through the surrounding landscape, he has never traveled to any other part of the world. His home is Qaanaaq, his life is that of hunting, fishing, and driving his dog sled. He says, “I drive my dog sled because it is my culture and my life. It will always be like that.”
During the warmer months, massive icebergs calve from the glacier head and slowly drift through vast fjords. Certain icebergs can float for many years, very slowly melting and breaking into smaller chunks of ice.
I had the chance to take a chilly dive under the sea ice during our photo expedition in Ilulissat, Greenland. Dressed in a dry suit and specialized arctic gear, it was ethereal and thrilling. Having a ceiling of ice above me and no sight of a sea floor, it felt other-worldly.
All images ©Justin Lewis