Behind Mapify

The world through a viewfinder

Benjamin Hardman about adventure photography

Q1: You are an outdoor – and adventure photographer. Your images unite structure and lighting – with a focus on the phenomenons of nature. What came first: The fascination for nature or your photographic enthusiasm?

Back in the day I was definitely drawn to nature before my interest in photography began. Growing up in Australia I spent my childhood riding motorbikes around the backcountry around Perth, but looking back on that phase, the landscape is nearly the complete opposite of what I’m drawn totoday. Since beginning to explore the world of photography, I have taken an interest in cold climate locations and I feel as though I was born to be in the cold. I’ve never been a huge fan of the warm weather back home in Aus!

Q2: You keep enthralling your audience with impressive views of the arctic nature (e.g. ice fjords) – how do you manage to capture the characteristics of this landscape and what fascinates you about ice and snow?

To capture the finer details I often find myself scoping in with a tele lens or using my drone to find and isolate elements of the ice and Arctic landscapes. What captivates me most is the simple fact is that ice is constantly changing and with the glaciers disappearing, I feel an urgency to capture them while we still can.

Q3: Imagine you were sent out on a journey without your camera. How would that impact your way of traveling?

My experiences wouldn’t differ too much being with or without the camera, but I do really enjoy those moments when the camera is put down to simply admire the surroundings. Perhaps having no camera at all would really amplify that. It would also be nice to have a light backpack for once!

Q4: How do you celebrate getting a perfect image? How do you define „the shot”?

I don’t believe I’ve captured the perfect image as of yet, but I usually know straight away if an image has potential or not. Those instances are met with a simple smile and then its back to business! The joy usually amps up again during the editing phase and I can spend hours on the edit. A perfect shot to me is one that sticks in my mind and stops me in my tracks when I’m witnessing the scene.

Q5: How do your photographs come into life? Do you have a certain concept in mind before you set out? Or do you trust in your eye’s instant radar?

Where I live and up in the arctic its hard to have an idea beforehand of what you’re going to shoot - the weather changes so fast and the conditions can halt your trip in an instant. Usually I trust my eye in the field and though I do have certain elements that I look for to fit into my overall theme, close-up, portraits, blue and white tones, strong contrasts and beams of light just to name a few for example.

Q6: You are traveling quite frequently: Are there any specific travel habits you have cultivated over time?

Yes! I have a tendency to spend quite a long time on planning and packing my equipment ahead of trips. Sometimes my partner Amy will catch me simply staring at wall while in my mind I’m debating which is the warmest pair of socks to bring. Learning what is best to pack only really comes with a lot of personal experience in the cold climate, and researching the best gear to keep you warm!

Q7: Is there a place that you feel connected to even though you have never been there before? If so, where?

Antartica. I’m so drawn to the fact that Antartica lies just across the ocean from my original home in Australia and that great explorers of this incredibly extreme continent have come from the same heritage as I do, all sharing a fascination and love for the cold.

Q8: What is one photography advice that you rely on every day?

Something I always stick by is to never pass by an opportunity for a shot. I’ve often passed by beautiful scenes and have missed the chance to capture them due to creating a minor inconvenience in my own or others schedule. These days I always turn back and retrace my steps to ensure I’ve captured the best frame I can in each location.

Q9: Where will your next journey take you?

My next trip will be to explore remote fjords in South Greenland. I’m yet to explore the beautiful mountains of this region and I’m really excited to see how it differs from other parts of the country!

About Benjamin

Five years ago, I embarked on my first photographic mission in an Arctic winter climate. Ever since, my passion for the cold has grown to lead me in search of the North’s most obscure landscapes – the barren, cold and volatile environments that are inhabited by colossal ice structures, carved volcanic mountains, and resilient wildlife. Now calling Iceland home, I divide my time between a range of photographic assignments and solo exploration.

All the best,
Benjamin Hardman

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