Photographer Diane Tuft Captures ‘The Arctic Melt’

by Chelsey Sanchez

The sun glares. The weather scorches. The temperature rises. Whatever feelings of childlike glee those statements may provoke, these quintessential trademarks of summer may actually indicate something more threatening than just sunburns and melted ice cream puddles. Climate change is real - despite whatever a certain president may say or do about it - and temperatures are increasing worldwide. In the US especially, our massive carbon footprint is leaving a permanent scar on this planet. Sea levels rise, ice caps melt, and coastal civilizations deteriorate in the wake of our blindsided consumerism and wastefulness.

In other news, we’ve made our bed, and now we have to lie in it.

New York based photographer Diane Tuft perhaps knows this just as much as anyone. For the past 12 years, her photography has focused on capturing what lies hidden beyond the visible. More specifically, she uses light sensitive infrared film to seize ultraviolet light within her images, the kind of light that is beyond the naked eye’s capability and that makes her photos seem even more otherworldly than they already are.

Her most recent project, The Arctic Melt, took her and her camera across the Arctic, where she travelled to Norway, the North Pole, and Greenland in order to photograph the effects of global warming upon a fragile white landscape. The Arctic Melt: Images of a Disappearing Landscape was published by Assouline earlier this month. The Marlborough Gallery in New York City will also display the photographs as an exhibit from June 21st - July 20th.

As is the case with so many honorable artists, Tuft’s photos raise a mirror to its viewer. See the broken arches of icebergs drift in one photo, and then watch the moment a chunk of ice collapses into the sea in another. The images are ethereal, yet frightening. They are thought provoking, while forcing us to be self-critical. What do these photos - this incredible and impossible-to-ignore collection of evidence of the decaying state of our world - mean for us?

“Our world is constantly changing,” Tuft said in a statement on her website, “filled with mystery and lit by light that we cannot always see. I hope my photographs can elucidate these truths and provoke a richer discussion about how to coexist with an environment that is so beautiful, powerful and precious.”

Written by Chelsey Sanchez
Photographs by Diane Tuft