Every walrus has its own temperament; this one is cunning. Vaigach Island 2015
© Andrey Ermakov

Exhibition “Arctic: Step by Step, Polar Expedition Kartesh” opens in Moscow

An Arctic photo exhibition showing images taken during an expedition aboard the research vessel Kartesh has opened in Moscow. Five photographers joined researchers and sailed over 8,000 nautical miles in the White, Barents and Kara Seas. Those visiting the exhibition "Arctic: Step by Step, Polar Expedition Kartesh" can get a new glimpse of a sunny Arctic filled with blooming plants and bright dawns and sunsets.

The Polar Expedition Kartesh set out from Murmansk in June 2016, with scientists conducting research in such areas as marine biology, ecology, geo-morphology and ornithology from the ship and onshore during the project. Apart from taking pictures, photographers organized photo exhibits for residents in remote communities along the route.

This is photographer Vladimir Vaskin's third Polar Expedition Kartesh.

"It depends on the pace of the expedition. If you have enough time, you can wait for sunrises and sunsets, get some great shots of the unique colors of the sea and its glowing surfaces, but we had little time for this. So we took photographs when the time was right, and we simply enjoyed the view when there was no scenery," Vaskin said.

The exhibition features pictures of the western Arctic taken by photographers Yaroslav Amelin, Vladimir Vaskin, Andrei Yermakov and Alexander Terekhov.

"Technically, it's very hard to take pictures there. There are few areas where you can shoot without risking your life and equipment. The wind is blowing all the time, polar bears are around, and things fall from high cliffs a lot," Vaskin noted. This time, we avoided getting hurt or damaging our equipment because the expedition was carefully planned, he said. "We were mentally prepared for temperatures of minus 30 degrees (Celsius), we expected snowfall and that we would be spending the winter there," Vaskin added.

After leaving Murmansk, the research vessel Kartesh sailed into the White Sea, called on Arkhangelsk and later made course for Novaya Zemlya and Vaigach Island, also calling at Naryan-Mar. The ship later sailed into the Kara Sea, traversed the Yamal coast, entered the Gulf of Ob and anchored at Yamburg port.

The expedition included researchers from the Center for Marine Research at Lomonosov Moscow State University, National Research Nuclear University MEPhI, the regional public organization Marine Mammals Council and other research agencies. There were no foreign researchers aboard the ship during the 2016 expedition; they might be invited to join future expeditions, said expedition chief Sergei Bedash.

Another expedition is to set out in June this year, with the ship possibly reaching Dikson town. "We are quite eager to set up our photo exhibit there and get to know the locals better. We would also like to reach Russkaya Gavan on the northernmost island of the Novaya Zemlya Archipelago," Bedash said.

The photo exhibition on the 2016 expedition's results runs through March 19.