Viktor Lyagushkin: Until The Ice Melts
First world’s under ice exhibition
February 19, 2019 - April 5, 2019. Isle of Big Cross, Nilmoguba Bay, White Sea, Russia
The world’s first exhibition of photographs under the ice is opened to visitors 19th of February 2019 beyond the Arctic Circle in the White Sea. Martians and space ships, Eywa the Wood and alien brain, aquanaut traveling across the sea on a balloon - this is how photographer Viktor Lyagushkin showed the underwater world of the White Sea in his photographs. A wide-angle macro shot taken with a fisheye lens is a new photographic technique invented by Viktor. The invention allowed the author to do something that no one had managed before him: to show the tiny inhabitants of the underwater Arctic in their natural environment.
The exhibition “Until The Ice Melts” is part of a large project by Viktor Lyagushkin on documenting the animals of the White Sea.
Viktor Lyagushkin is a world-renowned photographer, winner of countless contests, Nikon Ambassador, National Geographic photographer. For almost 10 years, admirers of Viktor’s talent are surprised with his projects, such as the “Orda Cave. Awareness”, dedicated to the longest gypsum cave in the world, located in the Urals, “Princess of Whales,” where a naked woman swam under the ice with beluga whales and others.
“The world changes before our very eyes, the Arctic ice is melting, the climate is changing, species are disappearing. My goal is to show people this wonderful world under the ice so that humanity understands what we will lose in the near future if we do not turn our attention to this problem.” - Viktor Lyagushkin.
The exhibition will last until the beginning of the ice melting.
Divers and freedivers who wish to visit the exhibition, please contact to the Arctic Circle Diving Centre and Lodge via email or telephone +7 (499) 110-90-80 or +7 (495) 925-77-99
The photos had been taken in March-September 2018, in the same place where they are now on display - in the White Sea.
Basically, the team consisted of two people: me and my assistant Bogdana. Also, the staff of the Arctic Circle Dive Centre provided for our dives and helped on the surface.
There are 10 pics under ice, one of them is an informational table in Russian and English and my portrait with my photo equipment. All the photos (excluding my portrait) are by me, Viktor Lyagushkin.
We tested various materials for resistance to salt water for six months. Simply soaked at home in a basin with table salt and watched what happened. As a result, we chose plastic with UV printing (outdoor advertising is usually printed this way) and printed pictures with a size of 80x120 cm.
Initially, we thought to fix the pictures to the bottom, but then we realized that it would be easier to do the opposite: load them with lead and hang them from the ice, it will be easier and smoother.
We marked ice with a tape measure, and cut out narrow lanes into which we put the pictures. Strings were attached to the pictures, which were fixed on the ice with ordinary pine wood blocks. We chose thin ropes of inconspicuous color to make them not noticeable under the water, and it seemed the photos were hanging in the water column by themselves.
For me, the visual part is critical. Many artists, exhibiting their works, are looking for the correct design, to help their paintings to be revealed most fully. The result exceeded all expectations: the ice in the photo rhymed with real ice, the pictures looked like portals to another world, it seemed that the image in the gallery is even more real than the surrounding reality.
When I saw my photos under water, they seemed to obtain additional depth that was not noticeable on the surface. When I saw this, I realized that I had done something more than just an unusual exhibition in a unique place. Despite the fact I was drawn by the visual idea, I was sure this is also a heart possibility to draw attention to the problem of climate change. The Arctic ice is melting at a catastrophic rate, and Russia thinks very little about it as if we have enough other issues and the level of public awareness is zero. Climate change will affect our lives tomorrow, and the lives of our children the day after tomorrow.
I was especially touched by a Chinese woman who came to the Polar region for the first time to learn ice diving. She said that she was very struck by a photo with a sea angel, she looked at it for a long time, and then next to the photo she noticed the real sea creature in and of itself, and the angel with her looked at its own photo.
When we see something for the first time, when we encounter something we don’t know, it seems to us that there is some kind of magic in it. And where magic lives, animals can talk and admire pictures, why not? There is enough magic in the world around us, and therefore I take pictures of its manifestations that I notice.
The exhibition has already been watched by several dozen people, these are divers from Russia, China, Germany. These are all the guests of the Arctic Circle Diving Centre, they learned about the exhibition already at the place. But the message flies fast, many will come to see until the ice melts. We assume several hundred people in total will see it under the ice.
Toward the end of spring, we will get photos from under the water, and they can be viewed by anyone. Probably, the exhibition will go on tour, we are working on its schedule.
Sponsors and Organizers
- The general sponsor of the exhibition - Nikon.
- The organizers of the exhibition - Dive Centre “Arctic Circle,” PHOTOTEAM.PRO
- SUBAL Underwater Housings
- Fourth Element
- Scubalamp Underwater Photography Equipment