Looking, seeing, thinking

One of my colleagues has a history as an art teacher and at the first recap, he always starts with a story on looking, seeing and thinking. Many people who look, do not see, and many people who look and see, do not think.

An example he gives is a painting by Turner in an art gallery. Beautiful colours and if you don’t know the story behind, you might think, what a pretty picture. Nice warm colours of a setting sun over a seascape with a ship in it. Only when you read the little sign next to the painting, you realise that it is not pretty at all, but about a slave ship dumping its cargo (i.e. slaves) overboard and the red colours actually refer to the blood of the slaves. Looking, seeing and thinking…

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Dandelions at the cemetery of Grytviken, South Georgia

When I took these pictures, I had his story in mind. I wanted to make a pretty picture of flowers near a grave in the graveyard of Grytviken, on South Georgia. A pretty picture, until you realise Dandelions are not a native species to South Georgia and are actually an invasive species that easily spread over the islands, outcompeting native flowers. Sometimes it pays off to know a bit more about the area before you look at (a picture of) it.

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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