First name: Olaf
Surname: Otto Becker
Country of origin: Canada
Olaf Otto Becker (Germany, 1959) studied communication design and philosophy, but soon turned his hand to photography. His work has not gone unapplauded. In 2005 he won the Bavarian Journalists Association Photography Award. And in 2007 he won the Deutsche Fotobuch Award for his book Broken Line (2007).
In 2003, after primarily photographing Iceland for several years, Becker broadened his horizons and focussed on Greenland. His Greenland work is characterised by its strong commitment to nature and climate change.
From 2003 to 2006 he sailed a small boat around Greenland’s 4,000-kilometre-long coastline. Because it is so vulnerable, the battle between man and nature is clearly apparent along this spectacular coast. In his Broken Line photos Becker seeks to show us not only the beauty of nature, but also the fact that the icescape is crumbling. Each photo is accompanied by its gps coordinates, so that people can visit these places in the future and see how they have changed.
In the photos of Above Zero (2009) all sense of perspective and proportion is lost, due to the lack of any landmarks in the vast white landscape. Whilst working on Broken Line, Becker noticed from the air, and from satellite photos, that melting glacier snow formed rivers and lakes on the Greenland ice shelf every summer. But these are no ordinary rivers, because they have no source or mouth. Each river begins when dust on the ice is heated by the sun. This causes the ice underneath to melt. Without ever emptying into a sea, this water sooner or later is absorbed again by a glacier.