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DM Witman

SPE Member since 2009
Member Chapter: South Central

Arctic Elegy

The American painter William Bradford set off for an expedition to experience the monolithic icebergs in 1864 off the coast of Labrador in the North Atlantic Ocean. He was accompanied by William H. Pierce, a photographer from Maine. These photographs by Pierce may be the first known of these icy structures.

Historian, scholar, and author Geoffrey Batchen leans into an understanding of Roland Barthe's seminal book Camera Lucida regarding the image of a dead young man, I read, "This will be and this has been; I observe a catastrophe which has already occurred." Barthes discerns that every photograph contains the sign of his death, and that the essence of photography is the implied message: ''That has been.''

And so, too, the Arctic and its fleeting icebergs have "been".

Elegy I

Elegy II

Elegy III

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