66 33′ 39″ north of the equator, an invisible line of latitude marks the border of the Arctic Circle, a bitterly cold area that encompasses parts of eight different countries and their populations. Since 2006, London-based photographer Cristian Barnett has ventured to the icy region a dozen times to document the diverse people who live in those countries–the United States, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia–in order to compile a compelling collection of portraits that he titles Life on the Line.
Barnett found a stunning variety of people residing within 35 miles of the Arctic Circle, a land where the sun never sets in high summer and never rises in deep winter. From remote towns in Canada to bustling metropolises in Russia, he used his Hasselblad camera to subjects that include a tanner, a farmer’s wife, a fashion student, and several indigenous peoples like the Gwich’in, Sami, Nenets, and Inuit.
Although it took the photographer a while to get used to temperatures that ranged from 70? in the summer to -18? in the winter, he discovered that inhabitants of the Arctic Circle treat the cold and darkness as parts of everyday life. As he explained, “The reality is, most places are not extreme environments; they’re just places to live.”
Above: Hans Bengtson. Jokkmokk, Sweden. 2010.
Ulyana, Yana, Olga, Simeon, and Hassowako. Yamal, Siberia. 2012.
Lars Anders Hakansson. Jokkmokk, Sweden. 2007.
Jaakko Ollila. Rovaniemi, Finland. 2006.
Maria Manninen. Rovaniemi, Finland. 2013.
Maria Ivanova. Zhigansk, Russia. 2013.
Matti Hrknen. Sonka, Finland. 2006.
Dorte and Ellen, Greenland. 2013.
Roger Men. Trna, Norway. 2007.
Chasity Herbert. Fort Yukon, Alaska. 2009.
Pavia Ludvigsen. Sisimiut, Greenland. 2013.
Father Daniel Szwarc. Repulse Bay, Canada. 2010.
Lyuba. Knjazaja Guba, Russia. 2011.
Brett. Kotzebue, Alaska. 2009.
Artyom Fyodorov. Zhigansk, Russia. 2013.
Pius Putulik. Repulse Bay, Canada. 2010.