It was a year ago. France hosted a new artist residency aboard Vagabond, frozen in the ice in front of Arctic Bay, in Nunavut. And then the restrictions fell, the artists left in a hurry. Among them Christian Morel, photographer, used to sea ice and to the cocoon Vagabond.
His photos speak about the balance sought by the Inuit, between tradition and modernity; a very promising look to talk about our relation to the land and to consumption.
Christian Morel explains:
"The Inuit have in one hand a state-of-the-art iPhone and in their eyes a spark of love for these harsh lands where fishing or hunting remains a vital necessity.
I tried to bring to light this paradox, to picture this invisible separation, a sort of virtual passage in space-time and between two worlds. During this residency, and before the covid-19 pandemic suddenly stopped it, I was able to work on a series of stagings with Inuit from the village of Arctic Bay (Ikpiarjuk). All were photographed exclusively in the dark, in the coldest hours of spring, so that the light-painting technique can highlight the difference between reality and history.
A particularly demanding photographic approach for everyone, mixing very long exposure times and light movements at -38°C. Whether it was for the Inuit volunteers who had to hold their position without shaking too much, for my faithful assistant Léonie without whom I wouldn't have succeeded, for myself or for the equipment."
In 2016, during a residency aboard Vagabond near Qikiqtarjuaq (Nunavut), Christian was telling us sea ice stories.