About the Project
During Jazbec's first visit to Greenland, he met Uunartoq, 70, a Greenland native and traditional hunter. Uunartoq lives in a remote settlement in Northern Greenland with 250 settlers and their 500 sled dogs. He is one of the last true hunters trying to lead a traditional lifestyle — subsistence hunting.
When Jazbec first traveled to Greenland, he imagined he would photograph ten different families. That is, until he met Uunartoq. Although Uunartoq had previously turned down an opportunity to be the focus of an American documentary on subsistence hunting, Jazbec clicked with his subject. Jazbec realized that he had found something, not only in subject matter but in a relationship: "It's hard to gain trust; that's why it's special to me."
Jazbec spent two weeks in Greenland with Uunartoq and plans to return again in March. It's important for Jazbec to visit again so that he can witness how quickly change occurs. Uunartoq, for one, is concerned about the future. The young generation is moving to towns and has already abandoned a number of settlements. Due to climate change, hunters now struggle with shorter winters and unpredictable weather. Uunartoq's way of life, like the ice caps and polar bears, could be disappearing.
About the Artist
Nature has always been central in Jazbec's work. In the artist's own words, "I grew up surrounded by nature, by its authenticity and brutality. I assumed nature's graphic style — strong contrasts, clean lines, multi-levelness. I feel overwhelmed by nature." Thus, the effects of climate change strike very close to the artist's heart. He feels that man and nature have an intimate bond and rapid change is bound to strain any close relationship.
Change also manifests itself in other ways in Jazbec's work. After photographing in Kiribati (an island nation that rising sea levels threaten to wipe off the face of the Earth), Greenland, and Uganda, Jazbec has demonstrated a consistent interest in change on the social, human scale as well as the natural one. Indeed, documenting people in transition is one of Jazbec's inspirations: "How do traditional communities live? How is their tradition facing the modern world? How to identify possible solutions? These things give me drive. Searching for hope that illustrates changes."
Editor's Note: We discovered Jazbec's work when he submitted his portfolio to the 2013 LensCulture Exposure Awards. His portfolio was also seen and featured by another jury member, James Estrin, who co-edits New York Times' Lens Blog .