Artist Background:

Jonathan Pozniak- In The Field

January 25, 2016
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Where were you standing when this photograph was taken?


This was taken in the Ilulissat Icefjord in western Greenland, one of my favorite places on earth to be amongst the ice. I went out late one night under the midnight sun on an old fishing boat, and at the stroke of midnight the driver turned off the engines so we could float in absolute silence amongst the ‘bergs. The only sounds I heard were thundering cracks of calving ice in the distance.


How did you get the shot?


For this shot I allowed the ice itself to guide me. The previous day, I had arrived in Greenland, slapped on crampons and taken a long hike on the Greenland Ice Cap. That’s when I found myself having a very intuitive, almost psychic, connection with the ice. The next night I was on that fishing boat, luckily the only cloudy day of the trip, and learned to really listen to the ice:  Listen to its movements and feel “nature” on a level I never had before. The icebergs in that region are so big and so powerful, it was overwhelming in a very transformative way creatively.  When the driver turned off the engines, there was no sound but cracking thunder, and not even a ripple in the water.  It was one of those moments where everything came together intuitively and environmentally in a mind blowing way.


The colors are incredible. Do you have a coloring process?


In terms of digital, I do some basic adjusting and correcting, but the icebergs are completely free of photoshop. I purposefully didn’t digitally manipulate anything. To Botox nature would be counterproductive to what the project is really about.


How have the far flung locations you’ve traveled influenced your work as a photographer?


Five years ago I got to a point where I was focusing a lot on fashion, and I needed a change. I wanted to be thrown into an environment that was very foreign to me, and shoot something I never had before. That was when I took my first trip to Antarctica. The animal experiences alone, the good the bad and the ugly, taught me what a natural paradise really was. Being inside a kingdom of tens of thousands of penguins and seals transformed the way I saw nature.  All of a sudden, I was in THEIR world, not the other way around. That’s also where I formed my connection to the ice. I started photographing it almost obsessively, but at that point I didn’t really know why or what it would become. When I started making trips to the Arctic, then everything came together.


What are your biggest influences?


Travel is always my biggest influence. Whether I’m snowmobiling across Svalbard, hiking through a jungle in Borneo, getting altitude sickness in Tibet, or riding through a desert in the middle east, there’s no greater joy (and in many cases, no greater teacher) than the planet we call home.


How did you get into photography, especially two different paths as a fashion/nature photographer?


Photography chose me. There’s no big romantic story about how it happened, but the path to where I am now has been interesting. I shoot half commercial beauty industry stuff, and half travel. I grew up hearing from other artists and “experts” that to shoot commercial work meant that you were a “sell out”.  I couldn’t disagree more, and I find that to be an outdated and ultimately counterproductive way of thinking. I personally love shooting both. They’re different sides of me, and to be multidimensional and versatile in what you shoot only helps you develop your eye and techniques in ways you otherwise couldn't. When those two polarities help each other out, learn from each other, and work together, that’s when your career as a photographer as a whole benefits and expands.


What are some of your favorite projects?


I’m so in love with the North Atlantic/Arctic region, I do trips to new corners of it each year. Shooting melancholy landscapes in the Faroe Islands has been my own version of paradise. I’ve also gotten to work a lot with some of my favorite models on fashion and beauty campaigns, so my portrait side doesn’t get neglected.


Is there a message you hope your viewers receive through your work?


Well, on the one hand, it’s preserving an image of a landscape, and part of the world, that’s truly dying. On a less solemn note, it’s a reminder of the stillness most of us need more of in our lives. Art should be personal, so I’m more curious to ask what does the viewer receive when they look at it?


What inspired your Whisper Edition?  How did the collaboration come about?


I saw Todd Hido tweeting about his own Whisper Edition back in the beginning. He said the best thing about that image was that it was one of his mother’s favorites. If that’s not a selling point, I don’t know what is. It was one of my favorites too, and I’m happy to have snagged one. That’s where my Whisper love began.


Where do you live now?


Very happily in NYC.


What is your favorite place to be inspired?


Anywhere with good ice. I love exploring new places in the Arctic. Being on a long haul flight staring out the window for hours is when I can ironically decompress. Bangkok is also like a second home.


What stands the test of time for you in photography?


So much photography across the board is a product of digital manipulation. So many images are in essence a digital illustration. Sure I use that in my commercial work, but I love photos that don’t rely on that. The immediacy of an image will endure far longer than something that was created artificially.


Where would you love to see this Edition displayed?


On the walls of anyone whose heart truly resonates with an icy landscape.  :)