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CULTURE

Camille Seaman

A photographer's eye on the Arctic reveals the natural beauty in ice

by Graham Hiemstra
on 26 April 2011
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With what seems to be a prescient surname, Camille Seaman—often referred to as "the iceberg photographer"—may have been born to take up the subject. While Seaman did study photography and long worked with the medium, it wasn't until she landed a job aboard an Arctic cruise ship at age 32 that something clicked with the harsh landscapes. There, surrounded by beautifully varied lighting conditions, what she describes as a "profound experience" allowed her to experiment, ultimately finding that a looming overcast sky projects just the right light on the icebergs, revealing their most precious inner colors and details and making her a 2011 TED fellow.

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To create such stunning visions Seaman also relies on her astounding collection of cameras—both digital and analog—that she proficiently intermixes within her practice. With favorites such as the Hasselblad x-pan, Epsom Ed-1 and various Leicas, she relies on technique rather than computer skills to perfectly frame her images, preferring to stay away from Photoshop and the like.

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A purist in this sense, Seaman does little else to manipulate her photographs, aside from using manual dodging and burning printing techniques. The upshot makes for an incredibly honest portfolio of images—realistic portrayals of magnificent subjects that lend a sense of personality difficult to fake.

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This clear-eyed vision of the natural world extends to Seaman's interest beyond cold climates too. Her extensive travels and previous work tells tales of massive storm clouds and golden farmland in middle America. A leading figure in self-publishing as well, Seaman co-founded Fastback Creative Books and often leads lectures and self-publishing workshops across the States.

"The Last Iceberg" is available for purchase from from Photoeye.

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