AIPP Silver Lining Awards 2020 Semi-Finalist

2020 has been a year unlike any we have experienced in our lifetime. Circumstances have forced us to change the way we work, play, behave and interact. One thing that has not changed, however, is our need for creative expression. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both the AIPP Epson State Awards and the Australian Professional Photography Awards (APPA) were unfortunately cancelled. This was really unfortunate as they represent some of the very last print award competitions still running today. However, the AIPP Awards Committee saw this as an opportunity to do something special, to channel the challenges now facing us all into a communal outpouring of creative energy. As art critic and winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for criticism, Jerry Saltz, says, “Isolation favours art”. So, appropriately, the AIPP decided to ignore the clouds and focus on the silver lining.

The AIPP Silver Lining Awards aimed to do just that, with an online program incorporating image critiques and feedback sessions, judge training and a national competition culminating in a multi-state print exhibition. This new silver Lining Awards members-only program was been designed to engage as many AIPP members as possible – in a demonstration of members collective imagination and expertise.

I am delighted to announce today that of the five images I chose to enter into the Wild category of the Silver Lining Awards that all five of them made the semi-finals and have now moved onto the final round of judging. All the semi-finalist photographs can be seen online HERE. With almost 3000 entries into the Silver Lining Awards, the Semi-Finalists represent the top 10% of entries into the competition.

 

Wrangle Island The Russian Arctic Trip Delayed until 2022

My planned expedition to the Russian Arctic and Wrangle Island next year (2021) has now been delayed until 2022 . This delay is an indirect result of the ongoing COVID-19 situation with all ship charters being pushed back.

The Wrangle Island expedition crosses the Arctic Circle and includes the isolated and pristine Wrangel and Herald Islands and a significant section of the wild North Eastern Siberian coastline. It is a journey only made possible in recent years by the thawing in the politics of the region and the retreat of summer pack ice in the Chukchi Sea. The very small distance between Russia and the USA along this border area was known as the Ice Curtain, behind which then and now lies one of the last great undiscovered wilderness areas in the world. The voyage journeys through the narrow Bering Strait, which separates Russia from the United States of America, and then travels west along the Chukotka coastline before crossing the De Long Strait to Wrangel Island. There we will spend four to five days photographing under the guidance of local rangers on the nature reserve. Untouched by glaciers during the last ice age, this island is a treasure trove of Arctic biodiversity and is perhaps best known for the multitude of Polar Bears that breed here. We hope to photograph this beautiful mammal in its native environment. The island also boasts the world’s largest population of Pacific Walrus and lies near major feeding grounds for the Gray Whales that migrate thousands of kilometres north from their breeding grounds in Baja, Mexico. Reindeer, Musk Ox and Snow Geese can normally be seen further inland. A visit to massive bird cliffs on nearby Herald Island is also planned. Full details are available on my website at www.jholko.com/workshops.

 

Arctic Fox Expedition Adobe Spark Presentation

For those who are interested in a future expedition to the remote north of Iceland to photograph Arctic Fox in a beautiful winter setting I have put together a short Adobe Spark Presentation and Website  with some teaser photographs and some information on the expedition. Of course, more photographs are also available on my website at www.jholko.com.

Iceberg in Antarctica

New Risk Assessment for Polar Bears Released by CITES with Good News

Finally there has been some respite for Polar Bears with a new CITES risk assessment being released by the Norwegian Scientific Committee (VKM). The committee spent many months formulating a scientific opinion on the trade in polar bear products (skins) and if this trade might be detrimental to the survival of the species. In conclusion and summary: VKM was unable to find that international trade with Canadian polar bears is non-detrimental to the survival of the species. Roughly translated, the study finds that there is evidence to suggest that the trade in Polar Bear products is detrimental to the survival of the species. The report is available in english here: https://bit.ly/2Axh8t2

COVID Update Polar Bears of the High Arctic 2020 Delayed until 2021

As a direct result of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis that originated in China and the continual travel bans and closure of countries around the world my 2020 Polar Bears of the High Arctic expedition to Svalbard is being delayed until 2021. Full details are on my website in the Workshops link.