Greenland is a land full of contrasts: from harsh landscapes of ice and rock, to lush green valleys and hills; from cold, dark winters, to the endless summer days of the midnight sun. Animal life is rich, varied and spectacular, and the polar bear still reigns supreme. This is the place to see ice stretching endlessly into the distance, or carved into the most fantastic shapes in an incredible range of colors. This was the setting of PlanetVisible’s project.
In July 2022, our team started its adventure on the northwest coast from the village of Upernavik. We traveled by Stand Up Paddle (SUP) boards combined with hiking and covered a total distance of 450 km northward to reach the village of Kullorsuaq at latitude 74.5° in 24 days. Our team was fully self-supported, brought all the equipment, food and paddle boards to give us the freedom to discover this pure, untouched nature where inland ice meets the sea.
One of the main goals of this expedition was to explore the mostly unknown supraglacial lakes on Greenland’s ice sheet. By mid-summer each year, vibrant blue meltwater lakes appear on the surface. These lakes can reach kilometres in diameter and several metres in depth. Their formation is driven by temperature, topography and elevation. Supraglacial lakes store large amounts of fresh water, while they can drain in hours they might also last for months. We packed our SUP boards and safety equipment and hiked on the ice sheet to reach these hidden secrets of nature, experiencing a once in a lifetime paddle session that gave us some amazing photographic opportunities.
PlanetVisible is a small, like-minded and flexible photography collective positioned to collaborate in the creative process of shaping visual stories. We are passionate about caring for people, the environment and for creating a positive impact on our planet. Together we seek to EXPLORE, DOCUMENT and SHARE photography projects from around the world, with the world. Individually Jean-Luc Grossmann, Justin Hession and Pascal Richard are professional photographers based in Zurich, Switzerland and are the core team at PlanetVisible, and Simone Talfourd, based in the UK, is a podcast producer and host as well as a dedicated writer and adventurer.
A TEAM OF OUTDOOR ENTHUSIASTS
Simone has seen first-hand how adventure can change your life, having quit her job in the film industry and set sail around the world as part of an amateur Yacht Race. Once back on dry-land, she moved close to the sea where she enjoys a wide variety of outdoor pursuits, including kayaking, cycling, sailing and swimming. Thirsty for a new challenge and keen to get back out on the water, Simone was part of a team of four who rowed non-stop around the UK, gaining a Guinness World Record for the first ever mixed team to do so.
Simone is a keen writer, podcast producer and host, and she is currently working on a memoir about the row. Having never been to Greenland she is excited to explore and connect with the land and people, and she’s thrilled she’s not the one taking the photos!
Beside his main occupation as a freelance photographer in the corporate world, Jean-Luc is pursuing visual storytelling ideas, self-exploration, creativeness and bring awareness to themes that would otherwise be outside his realm of everyday opportunities.
The spirit of travel and adventure plays an important role in Jean-Luc’s life. To live hand in hand with nature and to explore remote and wild places around the world has always been his passion since he was a little kid. But travel is also about the locals he meets along the way and the insights he gets into their culture. These encounters, he realized, often become one of the things he treasures the most about a journey.
Jean-Luc continues to explore all facets of photography, encouraging others to be curious about the new and the unknown.
Having traveled the world for 5 years as a backpacker in the 1990’s, Justin recognized his passion for adventure. After working on charter boats in the Caribbean his travels guided him from the depths of the Amazon to the foot of Mt Everest. He has kayaked the northern Alaskan rivers and rode motorbikes across Mongolia in his constant quest for outdoor experiences.
With over 15 years as a professional photographer he has combined his profession with his love for adventure to push his storytelling in exciting new directions.
Pascal grew up surrounded by paintings by various artists like Chagall, Miro and Dali. As his parents owned an art gallery in Zurich, he understood from an early age the power of expressing things through images. At the art school in Vevey, Switzerland he realized that photography is an incredibly strong medium to discover, document and share what he likes most – humans and their various ways of living, creating and working. He believes that there is always a story to be told and follows his passion to uncover new and inspiring projects around the globe.
Without any doubt our lives have been influenced and changed by the passion for adventure and exploration. We love Mother Nature as it treats everyone the same. It does not seek anything from you or judge you. It is completely present at all time and is the ultimate teacher of life.
Regular training sessions, a well thought planning and the right equipment are key for any successful expedition. We want to acknowledge all those that help make our adventures a reality.