Behind the lens

Catherine Lemblé: Arctic Silence

Where are you based?

Gent, Belgium

How do you make a living?

Photography & other part-time job(s)

What are you motivated by?

Today can be my last. Mortality, childhood memories, otherworldly experiences I find in nature and the sublime beauty of places and animals that aren’t spoiled by people yet.

What’s been your most memorable project to date?

My solo travels. A few months ago I went to Spitsbergen and it was like nothing I’ve seen before, there are no trees standing because the cold only permits this naked landscape, a great white vastness.

It’s been three years since I’ve been travelling alone. A lot of people ask whether I felt lonely during these trips. I went to the French Alps and stayed in a cabin alone for a month but felt neither alone nor scared. I’m surrounded by the splendour of nature and I meet beautiful and interesting people. I think solitude is bliss and leads to a better understanding of ourselves. Alone with my camera, I can fully be myself and do what I want.

What do you take with you on your travels?

My cameras, film, notebook, pencil, music and the necessary travel basics.

What impact has travel made on your life?

I don’t think there is anything I love more. My mother introduced me to it as a baby. We would go to the mountains every summer holiday and during the other holidays we visited our family in France. The most beautiful thing that travelling and mountains have given me is to stimulate my sense of wonder and to also appreciate the little things at home. What make up the best parts of an adventure?

The feelings you can’t put into words but stay with you forever.

What advice do you have for aspiring photographers?

Believe it and do it.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Save the whales (and all other animals).

– I am currently making my first book ‘cabin fever’. After that it’s time for a new project and new adventures!

Svalbard Church
World’s northernmost church where you can have cookies and coffee.

Sarah & Nemo
During our hike to the ice cave when we where in the middle of a whiteout.

My bedroom
The most beautiful view I can dream of. Waking up to the great white vastness.

Longyear City
Typical architecture of Longyearbyen, the capital of Svalbard with less then 3000 inhabitants. I love the contrast between the colourful houses and the white, naked mountains.

Eiscat Svalbard Radar
The EISCAT Svalbard Radar is used to study the interaction between the Sun and the Earth as revealed by disturbances in the ionosphere and magnetosphere.

Glacier Ice
Walking through a meltwater river in winter, we came across these painterly pieces of glacier ice.

Sarah and her dog in the middle of a whiteout.

View from my window in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen, one of the world’s northernmost settlements.

Evening hike
I never felt more happy, hearing nothing but the cracking of snow underneath my treading feet.

Reindeer just outside our guesthouse. The Svalbard reindeer (or Spitsbergen reindeer) is the only reindeer species in Svalbard.