We are literally at the edge of the world. And every here is a guest. Places outsides are ruled by men. The antarctic town is ruled by nature. Svalbard, the Antarctic town is an archipelago between Norway and the North Pole. This Antarctic Island is a visa-free zone where anyone can live and work. It has been part of Norway since 1920 when it was first populated.
A photographer narrates his story of Svalbard Antarctic town:
I come from the south of Brazil and I’ve worked as a photographer, videographer. We had a friend who was living in Svalbard and working here. And she told. ‘You have to come and you also do not a visa to work here and it’s easier to work in Svalbard for you, I think after six months I realized that was I am in love with the place. The first six months I was too scared.
There is a place called Longyearbyen and this is the capital of Svalbard. Two and half thousand people, 51 nationalities live here. Some polar bears try to come into town sometimes. We are all squeezed in this little space here because of nature, yeah?
I am the manager of the northernmost sporting goods store in the world. I‘ve been up Svalbard for 24 years. Yeah I had pretty settled life in Germany and I wanted to change and I thought about traveling again.
And I was playing a little lottery writing down all the state names on a little piece of paper. I had one in my hand and I opened it and I was Svalbard. The first emotion it was ‘oh my god, what I am doing here, this is not my place. And then after like three, four months, I get to know people.
And I get to see the beauty of Svalbard. Miners started to settle in Svalbard in the early 1900s. Now the majority of people work in tourism. You’re meant to be born here that’s for sure; we do not have a maternity ward. And even if you are unlucky enough to die here, you are going to be shipped off.
So people stay that everyone comes up for some time a period. Some people stay for six months, some people stay a year, and some people stay considerably longer. And new people arriving get welcomed in.
It was free land, an open land; it did not belong to anyone. Well, it does and it belongs to the bears. This place belongs to the bears, the reindeer, the seals and the whales, and the foxes. You know what I mean, it is their place, and we are guests.
This is a full community, a real community. And people check on each other because up here, if you do not do it no one else will we do sell a lot of guns because we need guns to protect ourselves against the polar bear.
The antarctic town is full of polar bears.
As far as going out of the Antarctic town, you should bring a gun because you never know where he is. Sometimes, there is a tent of people, a polar bear visit them. After a while there are many holes here, also the inner tent gets damage. So people keep trying to fix these. As the Antarctic town is full of polar bears we cannot stop them. This is their home.
Antarctic town make you feel cold in skin.
Your human instinct flourishes in Svalbard much more than in any other place. Because here it is cold you feel it in your skin. Here is it is dangerous. You have polar bear so you need to be awake, you to be aware of what is happening around you. We have for months of darkness; we have four months of sun all the time. So if nature wants, nature keeps you inside your house locked there.
What photographer has to say at the end?
I was having dreams to travel. I was not expecting to be here at the top of the world. The first time I see the northern lights, it is like I am in another universe. I say “oh my god that is beautiful that is, really, really beautiful”
When impost a video or a photo on Facebook and they see it, most of my friend, they are quite surprise. I like this Antarctic town. I like to see the waters, the mountain. That gives me positive energy.
The temperature in the arctic has raised 4’C since 1971… which is five times faster than the global average. Regarding climate, I have seen a lot of changes there. In 2002 was the last time I was on the ice driving my snowmobile to Borensberg the Russian settlement.
That took me about ten minutes, now it is a one and a half-hour drive by land. I love this place. It is changing fast. Ten years enough for me to say I have seen the effects of climates changes here, these places as I know it.