Campus News

Freezing the Moment: Photographing the Arctic

Story posted October 08, 2003

In this era of digital cameras, when a Web cam can send daily photographs of the North Pole around the world, it is easy to forget that photography is a relatively new technology, and that it was not always easy, or even possible, to capture images of remote locations.

Bowdoin College student Aimée Douglas '05 explores some of the issues surrounding photography in the Arctic in a new exhibit "Freezing the Moment: Photography in the Arctic," now on view at The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum, in the foyer of Hubbard Hall, on the Bowdoin College campus.

Douglas, an anthropology and neuroscience major, spent many weeks examining the extensive photograph collections at the Arctic Museum, looking for images that convey the challenges facing photographers in the Arctic from the 19th to the mid-20th century.

Beginning with the popular misconceptions of the years before photography was invented, she touches on subjects ranging from how technology affected the ways photographs were taken and how photographers overcame the limits of available technology, to who was taking photographs, and how they were used.

It is only through photographs that most people can experience the Arctic. This exhibit provides viewers with some clues about how changes in photography have affected how we see the north.

The exhibit was made possible by a generous grant from the Friends of Bowdoin College.

"Freezing the Moment: Photographing the Arctic" will be on view at The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum through February 10.

Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 2 to 5 p.m. The Museum is closed Mondays and national holidays. Admission is free.

For more information call 207-725-3426 or visit the Museum Web page at

The North Pole Web cam can be visited at

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