Ari S. Friedlaender is an Associate Professor Oregon State University’s Marine Mammal Institute. Ari grew up in Connecticut, earned his PhD from Duke University and was a Research Professor at the Duke University Marine Laboratory before moving to Oregon in 2013. Ari’s research interests are in using tag technology to study the underwater behavior of marine mammals. Specifically, Ari is interested in the foraging behavior of baleen whales and how these animals are affected by environmental and human-caused changes to their ecosystems.
Since 1997 Ari has been working in Antarctica. Having made over 25 trips South, Ari has developed a long-term ecological research program that has lead to many important discoveries about whales in Antarctica. While scientific research has driven Ari’s work to date, he also has a unique history of engaging the general public about marine mammals, climate change, and Antarctica. Using photography as a medium, Ari has sought to shed light on some of the unique aspects of the Antarctic, its inhabitants, and the threats that this fragile ecosystem now faces.
In, Unframable, Ari states the following:
Antarctica has captured me. It has captured my mind and my spirit like no other place. I go to Antarctica to learn, to understand, and to grow. And the more I go the greater my sense of responsibility grows. As a scientist I seek the truth and to discover how nature works. As an educator I try to communicate this knowledge as well as the myriad feelings that this place infuses in me.
Antarctica is unframable. Antarctica cannot be bound by a photograph, and it cannot be experienced in the pages of a book. What follows are a set of images that represent, to me, some of the many facets of this unique place. I have tried to capture times and places and actions that happen routinely yet are rarely seen. I hope that some of these will resonate and evoke emotion. My challenge has been to create images that are meaningful and that will hopefully inspire others to experience Antarctica, to learn about this place, and to protect it. Antarctica does not exist for our needs and desires. There is heuristic value for this place to exist and persist without our fingerprints scattered on it. I hope that these images of Antarctica will find their way to you as they have to me.