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Through a Woman's Lens First Place Winner

Vital Signs: Climate Change in Antarctic Waters

Amy Martin | Antarctica

As ice melts in the Antarctic waters, fresh water alters the chemistry of the sea water, affecting the ocean ecosystem including declines in krill which affect populations of penguins, whales and fish. Antarctic Peninsula, December 2017.

Called the 'canary in the coal mine' by climate scientists, the disintegrating ice-shelves and calving glaciers of the Antarctic Peninsula are releasing more and larger icebergs into the surrounding seas each year, with 2017 setting records. Antarctica contains ¾ of all the ice on earth, and with temperatures in some areas increasing more than twice the global average, ice-melt is increasing global sea levels with an alarming trajectory.  The changes in water temperature and chemistry are already contributing to devastating effects on sea life in the area.

The haunting beauty of the ice, in every stage of decomposition, reminds us of the ominous shifting in the vital signs of the planet.

This collection of images, created in the dark and dreamlike seascape of the Antarctic Peninsula in December 2017, tells the story of human-driven climate change and provides a visual connection to what can be a perceptively invisible global issue. 


As a documentary photographer, I use my camera's lens to increase awareness, understanding and compassion across physical and social barriers.

Hidden in some of the most desolate waters on earth and far from the view of almost all of the human population, Antarctica's great ice reserves are melting and affecting global sea rise and water chemistry. Telling the visual story of climate change has been challenging for activists, artists and journalists. Although environmental effects from climate change are increasing at an alarming rate, they can be difficult to perceive to the human eye. Through the images in the 'Vital Signs' series, I attempt to bring into awareness a place tucked away from human view, yet is in the throes of significant change. Through the ominous mood and strange beauty of these images, I hope to allow the viewers to experience the sensations of being in a place where the effects of climate change are clearly visible and a reality.

Amy S. Martin

Amy S. Martin Photography http://www.amysmartinphotography.com

Instagram: @Amysmartin21 https://www.instagram.com/amysmartin21/




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