A ‘before and after’ image comparing the exact same spot in the Arctic a century apart, shows staggering changes in the landscape.
The images were taken in Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole, and were taken by photographer Christian Åslund as part of a glacier comparison project undertaken with Greenpeace.
Seven comparison images were composed, using archival photographs from the Norwegian Polar Institute taken in the early 1900s and contemporary photographs shot in the same places by Mr Åslund. The images recently resurfaced once again on Twitter.
Mr Åslund discussed the assignment in an interview with National Geographic in 2017.
Asked what the most remarkable assignment was he’d done fo Greenpeace, Mr Åslund answered: “It’s got to be the glacier comparison that we did [at Svalbard] because it’s interesting on so many levels—our access to the archives there from the early 1900s, and then being able to trace where the photographers were, because we didn’t know exactly where they shot from. We had to track down where the photos were taken, and then go on location and then sort of follow their footsteps.”
He continued: “It’s been quite a few years. I shot this in 2003. Knowledge of climate change wasn’t as common, our attitudes towards climate change were different. Now more or less everyone knows it’s a fact. It’d be interesting to go back and shoot from the exact same locations again.”
One of the ‘before and after’ compositions was posted on Twitter by @archeohistories, sparking sceptics to question whether the changes were in fact due to the pictures being taken in different seasons.
‘One picture is taken in winter and the other picture is taken in the summer,’ claimed Twitter user @iamatifbhatti
However, Snopes reached out to the photographer who confirmed that this wasn’t the case, effectively debunking the theory.
“Both of the images are from the summer season” said Mr Åslund. “It was July [when] I took my image and should be around the same for the archive pic. You can see it on the lack of snow on the mountains, winters the peaks would be covered. Also, the lack of sea ice. It wouldn’t be open water like that in the winter.”
The full series of breath-taking images can be viewed here on the photographer’s website.