Olaf Otto Becker was born in Lübeck-Travemünde, Germany in 1959. Becker’s first photography explored German landscapes, but he quickly began travelling further abroad to develop his photographic practice. In particular, he visited Iceland and Greenland as he was drawn to the quality of light. There Becker aimed to find landscapes that had little human interference. He has stated, 'I was interested in a wild, unspoiled landscape. I was interested in a place where the landscape developed on its own.'Read More
His first project, Under the Nordic Light (2005) documented the dramatic landscape of Iceland. His subsequent project Broken Line (2003–2006), explored the effects of global warming on the coastal landscape of Greenland and the glaciers that form there. The project took him on a 4000km journey along the west coast of Greenland alone in a rubber zodiac raft, documenting the landscape with a large format camera. In this series, Becker explored the relationship between the fragile arctic landscapes and the people who live and work there.
In 2007 and 2008, Becker accompanied a science expedition studying glacial inland rivers in Greenland. Becker hiked 450km in order to photograph four glacial rivers, thousands of which now flow through the ice sheet every summer. His photographs are a powerful record of the world’s largest glacier and the melting process it is currently undergoing.
Becker’s project Reading the Landscape took him to the forests of Indonesia and Malaysia, where he documented the deforestation process in primary forests. The project explores the stark changes made to these precious landscapes, usually caused by uncontrolled usage of natural resources.
Becker’s recent series 'Ilulissat' continues to confront environmental issues, as he photographed the monumental icebergs that border the coastal settlement of Ilulissat in Greenland. The photographs in the series meditate on the colour, light and scale of dramatic Arctic landscape.
Olaf Otto Becker is a regular contributor to the New York Times Magazine. His first publication Under the Nordic Light (2005) was nominated for the Recontres D’Arles Book award. He has been nominated twice for the Prix Pictet award in both 2008 and 2012. His work has been exhibited internationally in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States.
Text courtesy Huxley-Parlour.