Alaska, USA 2015
This image was run in the British Press a few days after my encounter on Barter Island. It is a special picture and I guess it will become a well-known picture. It is something of a platitude to say that the bigger an image is printed, the greater the detail, but on this occasion it is very pertinent for two reasons.
Firstly, a polar bear is a huge animal. If possible, any portrait should reflect this and – in this case – given that it is a head on shot, that is easy. The bear’s head in the image should be at least life size – if not more.
Secondly the bear is pin sharp around its eyes. I think that I must have been closer than just about anyone has ever been to a polar bear in the wild and lived to tell the tale. I was also using Nikon’s flagship 58m lens – which captures every hair at the assigned focal point. When the first large print of the image came off the drum in LA, one of the team turned to me and said “David, look at the eyes – you are in them!”. He was right; I inadvertently took a selfie through the eyes of a polar bear. That surely is groundbreaking.