An insight into the life of an Greenpeace Ambassador and photographer working in the Arctic.
The experiences of my first two years in the Arctic are just incredible. But what is more important is what our work is about: the Arctic and what is happening with it because of our changing climate. (Melissa Schafer)
My name is Melissa Schäfer (26) years old. Since I got my first camera from my mum when I was 13/14 years old I started to take photos in Hamburg with friends or just outside in a park. Later I made most of the time portraits - self portraits. I always loved polar bears and the arctic but for me that was just a dream. Something impossible. When I met Fredrik my dream came true with him. Now I can work with the animals I love most and the men I love most side by side. Im still learning a lot and i'm so happy about all the support and help. Also working together with sea legacy last year was something I learned a lot from.
Hubba Production is our company; our goal is a little part of changing the world by making people feel. When it comes to communication about the environment and conservation a lot usually comes in the form of doomsday reports and big black headlines. We believe that you only fight for what you love. We want to make people connect, or reconnect with nature. At the moment we are working on a photography book about the arctic and polar bears.
Polar bear mother with cub in Svalbard. There is no "typical" polar bear. The Arctic is huge, and there are 19 different populations. They all behave differently, and even within those populations, all bears are different. The world’s 20-25,000 polar bears have one thing in common: they need sea ice. (Melissa Schafer)
There are many moments where I needed my camera. There are many photos who are not good as a photo but healing for me or helping. I used to take photos when im emotional. When I didn’t feel so good I started to take photos and in some way I could but all those emotions into the pictures. So in the end I turned something negative in something I want to show people, something good.
Swimming polar bear in a labyrinth of ice floes in Mohnbukta, Svalbard. The home of the polar bear is the area where ice meets water. We call it the "Arctic ring of life". (Melissa Schafer)
First Polar bear experience
She approached us from a far distance. Like most polar bears do, they never really look at you, and don't let you know how interested in you they are until they are very close. But after a while, she had arrived at the beautiful ice berg not so far from us. There she stayed for a while - rolling in the snow, climbing the ice and playing around. Completely relaxed and cool as ice, of course she was sniffing us out, trying to figure out who and what we were - most bears we meet have never seen a human before. It was magical. And the moment she looked at me I stopped breathing.
I also wrote a blog post about that after the meeting with her, its pretty long but feel free to read it !!!
This newborn ringed seal pup on Svalbard will be nursed by its mother on the ice for about twelve days, and in that time it will double its body weight. But it is a dangerous life. The ringed seal is the main prey of the polar bear. The expected future reduction of ice, and shrinking, or even disappearing habitats for ice-dependent animals will likely drive some of them to extinction. (Melissa Schaefer)
I want to make more people feel and see what we see and connect to it. Make people care about our planet and how we treat it. I want to bring a smile in peoples faces and and children's eyes when they see my photos of polar bears, making them curious about it.