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Alaska Beat

Artist's inspiration lies in Arctic landscapes, iceberg portraits

  • Author: Craig Medred
  • Updated: September 27, 2016
  • Published December 30, 2012

San Francisco artist Camille Seaman credits a free trip to Kotzebue in Northwest Alaska with inspiring the course of her artistic work since 1999; since then she has traveled from Greenland to Antarctica, anywhere that majestic landscapes of ice can be found and photographed, the San Francisco Gate reports.

The journey began when Alaska Airlines gave Seaman a free ticket to anywhere in U.S. for volunteering to give up her seat on a flight.

"I really wanted to walk across the frozen sea," she told the San Francisco Gate.

"When I arrived in Kotzebue, it was minus 30 degrees. I started walking, camera deep in my parka, and it was the first time I felt truly connected to my planet. A light switch went on, and I knew I was going to use my camera to document my experience here on Earth."

Since then Seaman has traveled across the Arctic and Antartica, by herself and also with scientific expeditions. She says that she began to think of her images of icebergs as portraits, not landscapes.

Before her photographic pursuits, Seaman was making her living with traditional native beadwork.

"I had always had a camera with me, but it never dawned on me that I should use it to make a living by making art." She told the San Francisco Gate.

Seaman has been recognized as a "trailblazer" for her work documenting a disappearing landscape, honored as a senior Ted Fellow for 2013. Her work has gone on to win a National Geographic Award, and she has had a show at the National Academy of Cience in Washington, D.C.

Read her full story and see some of her work at the San Francisco Gate.

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