Ghosts of the Arctic

By Abraham Joffe | Documentary
A wildlife photographer searches for polar bears in the frozen Arctic.

Filmmaker Abraham Joffe, along with cinematographer Dom West and photographer Joshua Holko, trekked over 120 miles a day in the Arctic region of Svalbard to capture a glimpse of the elusive polar bear.

They spent 16-hour days crossing the beautiful frozen tundras, braving bumps and bruises amid -20 degrees temperatures. Holko is still recovering from second-degree frostbite on his face. He removed his face covering briefly to shoot a 3-minute take.

The wind chill also made the cold grueling to work. Often, the equipment failed — cameras didn’t power on, batteries lost charge in mere minutes, HDMI cables became brittle and snapped in the cold.

All the while, they existed on a diet of freeze-dried cod and pasta, washed down with tepid coffee and the occasional frozen Mars bar.

“In spite of the conditions, it was one of the most rewarding shoots we have all been involved in,” Joffe added. “I’ve always been drawn to places that are hard to get to. The polar regions fit those criteria like nowhere else.”

Holko is an Australian landscape, nature and wildlife photographer who specializes in the polar and sub-polar regions of the world.




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