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October 29, 2006

Every polar bear in Great Britan

photo of a polar bear in Liverpool

People love to complete self-appointed sequential tasks...like visiting every Vermeer in New York, or reading every Lemony Snicket book, or seeing a big-league baseball game in every stadium, all in one season. (I once interviewed a guy who's spent years eating at every restaurant in Toronto. In alphabetical order.)

Add to that list the work of Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir and Mark Wilson, who set out to find and photograph every stuffed polar bear in the British Isles. It took the pair four years to track them all down, some in museums, others in the castle manor houses of rich British nobility.

Snæbjörnsdóttir and Wilson's quest seems at first to be...well...kind of silly, but it calls into thought centuries worth of cultural interaction between civilization and the wild, of European's relationship with the arctic, of Victorian views of the conquest of nature, of the British view of their colonial Empire.

It's also led to a beautiful book of photographs, Nanoq: Flat Out and Bluesome: a Cultural Life of Polar Bears

You can also see many of the photographs on the www.snaebjornsdottirwilson.com website.

Posted by Chris Spurgeon at October 29, 2006 08:47 AM