Polar Obsession is a photography exhibition featuring nearly 40 striking images of the world’s polar regions from National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen. The images take visitors underwater and across the ice, delivering a unique close-up of wildlife in the Arctic and Antarctic. Polar Obsession is organized and traveled by National Geographic.
Nicklen, who regards himself as an ambassador for polar life, grew up in a small Inuit community in the Canadian Arctic. From an early age he learned how to survive in the frozen terrain and developed a passion for the wildlife around him. Today his expeditions take him to the ends of the Earth in pursuit of rare, close-up photographs of polar species, their intriguing ways and their environs. Constantly honing his understanding of wildlife behavior in order to approach the animals in their most intimate natural settings, he uses photography to dispel myths, reveal rarely seen behaviors and intensify the world’s interest in the entire polar ecosystem.
This exhibition is drawn from Nicklen’s book, “Polar Obsession,” which showcases important insights into animal behavior, the fragile polar environment, and climate change that threatens the ice and its inhabitants.
Polar Obsession features Nicklen’s most spectacular encounters from the polar reaches. From huge elephant seals, leopard seals, whales, walruses, narwhals and polar bears, to penguins, albatrosses, petrels, arctic cod and tiny krill, Nicklen, an underwater photography specialist, captures the beauty of a wide variety of polar animals, large and small – and the icy paradise in which they live.
“The polar regions are disappearing quickly, and I want my photo essays to stand as a reminder of what is at stake. It is my mission to bring the rare, remote and threatened to caring people who can enjoy and help protect these lands and creatures,” he writes in his book introduction.
Of Polar Obsession, the Brower Center’s Executive Director Laurie Rich says, “David Brower believed that if you could show people the remarkable beauty of wild places they would be motivated to save them – even if they’d never physically been there. Paul Nicklen’s work, which uses evocative imagery of the polar regions to inspire people to action, is a perfect example of this. His personal mission, “to ignite conversation about the future of our planet’s natural wonders,” aligns perfectly with the mission of the Brower Center’s Hazel Wolf Gallery and its art of advocacy theme. I’m thrilled to bring this important exhibition, which marks the first National Geographic show in the Bay Area since 2009, to the Brower Center community, and look forward to the conversations it will inevitably spark around climate change and our planet’s future.”