Ragnar Axelsson: Faces of the North
Introduction by Mary Ellen Mark. Text by Ragnar Axelsson.
Raised on an isolated farm in southern Iceland, Ragnar Axelsson (born 1958) became captivated early on by the brutal beauty of the North Atlantic and the delicate interactions between its inhabitants and their environment. Born of that fascination, Faces of the North, first published in a small print run in 2004, established Axelsson as one of the leading documentary photographers of our time. It contained about 100 lushly austere, powerful images of Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, taken over two decades. Long out of print, Faces of the North is now republished in a special anniversary edition that echoes the format of Axelsson's latest publications, Last Days of the Arctic and Behind the Mountains. Containing the original selection of photographs documenting the vanishing lifestyles of the North Atlantic, the new edition also includes previously unpublished photos, Axelsson's personal accounts of the journeys which led to the images' creation and the artist's sketches of the photographs, drawn nightly as he traveled through the Arctic. In the 2004 edition of Faces of the North, Axelsson collected the images of farmers, hunters and fishermen in the Arctic and the Atlantic that he became best known for; in the 2014 edition, his oeuvre comes full circle, as he looks back upon the foundation of his photographic passion and career.