2021 / Editorial / Photo Essay

Breaking Ice, Breaking Records

  • Photographer
    Michael Gutsche
  • Agency / Studio
    Michael Gutsche Photography

This portrait series captures crewmembers of the Russian icebreaker Kapitan Dranitsyn in February 2020. Their mission was to exchange researchers and equipment aboard the Polarstern, the German research icebreaker adrift in the Arctic ice near the North Pole during MOSAiC, the largest scientific Arctic expedition in history. After five weeks of heavy icebreaking, they had set a new world record in the history of Arctic seafaring—marking the northernmost point reached by ship during the Arctic winter. Without the fulfillment of their mission, the MOSAiC expedition may have been called off.

Michael Gutsche is a German photographer who works with changing landscapes and global environmental issues. Gutsche’s work manifests in large-scale prints that have been featured in solo exhibitions at museums, galleries and institutions across Germany. In 2019, Gutsche was commissioned by the Alfred Wegener Institute from January to April 2020 as a photographer for MOSAiC, the largest scientific Arctic expedition in history. These images have been published in Focus, FAZ, Nature, and The Washington Post, among others. www.michaelgutsche.com Instagram: @michaelgutschephotography