Rene Koster has seen the world through his camera lens. The photography from his Antarctica project won him the runner-up prize in Travel Photographer of the Year 2006. In this trip to West Greenland, he was accompanied by Marco Barneveld, a travel writer and adventurer. Marco’s travel stories are published globally in, amongst others, National Geographic Traveller, Explore and Sidetracked. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of travel magazine wideoyster.com.
In the late Spring 2018, Rene and Marco were invited to West Greenland to shoot some of the world’s most spectacular scenery and to meet some of the world’s friendliest (and hardiest) locals.
Anticipating the extreme conditions, The Shackleton Company was pleased to equip the duo with a selection of high-performance polar gear: Endurance Parkas, Signature Sweaters, Merino layers and Lupoid down jackets which kept them warm in conditions well under minus 20. Here is the record of their trip and a selection of Rene’s comments on life as a photographer in some of the world’s most extreme environments.
“The friendliness of the people in Greenland is striking. Even after the smallest chat we, as outsiders, were welcomed into people’s homes.”
Far away from modern life with its chaos and noise, in West Greenland I found absolute silence. The only thing I could hear was the sound of my blood running through my veins. The silence of a landscape can be just as wonderful as the visual.
For me, the worse the conditions, the better the photos. The elements enable me to emphasize the hardship a journey into extreme cold can pose. The harsh onditions emphasize the beauty and the tragedy in the landscape. I love the challenging aspect of remote places; I’m always aiming for the unknown.
Racing down hill in untamable excitement, the dogs picked up so much speed that they constantly tripped. Tumbling, they miraculously recovered instantly, not slowing down even a bit. Gusts of wind flung snow into our faces; here you discover what feeling close to the elements really means. It felt like we were holding on to life itself.
“I remember one host kept providing us with beer and salted fish. Apparently that’s his favorite refreshment; a memorable combination for us.”