Acacia Johnson

Love, Death, and the Ocean
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Nationality: USA
Biography: Acacia Johnson is a photographer and writer from Alaska, focused on human relationships to wilderness. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Acacia received a Fulbright grant to Canada in 2014, to overwinter on Baffin Island . Since... read on
Private Story
Love, Death, and the Ocean
Credits: acacia johnson
Updated: 05/19/13

“Turning to face North, face the North, we enter our own subconscious.  Always, in retrospect, the journey North has the quality of dream.” –Margaret Atwood

 This body of work reflects upon the dreamlike, melancholy quality of journeys to the Far North in the darkness of the polar night.  Moving through a winter landscape of subdued color and artificial light, these images explore the way in which a world not governed by conventions of light or time seems to fall into the realm of the magical.

Following the lives and stories of a family in Northern Norway, the three themes of love, death, and the ocean recur frequently, woven into the fabric of this boreal world.  The images are also motivated by these themes on a personal level: my love for this place and these people, a need to capture it before it is changed forever by the inevitability of death, and a fascination with the constant presence of an ever-changing ocean - under the constant gleam of the North Star in an ever-changing sky. 

Exploring notions of longing, nostalgia, and timelessness, this series ultimately examines the way that the dynamic contrasts of the northern landscape cause us to feel, profoundly, the essence of being alive – by the sheer awe of warmth in absence of cold; by fleeting moments of glittering arctic light before the world plunges back into velvety blackness.  


By Acacia Johnson —


Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award

By Acacia Johnson — My work explores relationships between humans and the environment: how people perceive, interact with, and change the landscape, and the impacts of..

Antarctic Snow Algae

By Acacia Johnson — National Geographic , September 2018


By Acacia Johnson


By Acacia Johnson

Nordic Refuge

By Acacia Johnson — Synopsis: In Arctic Norway, the populations of many rural communities have decreased over the past few decades with the decline of fishing and..


By Acacia Johnson — A small and ongoing selection of images from four years of expeditions to Svalbard, Greenland, and the Canadian Arctic, both as an expedition guide..


By Acacia Johnson — Antarctica, in popular imagination, exists nearly as a mythical place. Cold, distant, inhospitable, and separated from the rest of the world by..

Boundaries of Life & Stillness

By Acacia Johnson — Boundaries of Life and Stillness: The Inuit Seal Hunt  Synopsis: On Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic, the Inuit people have lived a..


By Acacia Johnson —   The rain came in sheets and then in waves. It pounded our shelters and soaked into our skin. We awoke to pools of water filling our forest..
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