WPY 2012

Photograph Details

Winner 2012

World in Our Hands

Anna Henly, UK

Ice matters

Anna was on a boat in Svalbard – an archipelago midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole – when she saw this polar bear at around four in the morning. It was October, and the bear was walking on broken-up ice floes, seemingly tentatively, not quite sure where to trust its weight. She used her fisheye lens to make the enormous animal appear diminutive and create an impression of ‘the top predator on top of the planet, with its ice world breaking up’. The symbolism, of course, is that polar bears rely almost entirely on the marine sea ice environment for their survival, and year by year, increasing temperatures are reducing the amount of ice cover and the amount of time available for the bears to hunt marine mammals. Scientists maintain that the melting of the ice will soon become a major problem for humans as well as polar bears, not just because of rising sea levels but also because increasing sea temperatures are affecting the weather, sea currents and fish stocks.

Technical specification

Canon EOS 5D + 15mm f2.8 lens; 1/100 sec at f3.5; ISO 400.


Svalbard, Norway: latitude 78.7504, longitude 16.3625 Svalbard, Norway: latitude 78.7504, longitude 16.3625

Svalbard, Norway

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Anna Henly, UK