Katie Orlinsky

Visual Storyteller & Contributing Photographer
Location: North America
Nationality: American
Biography: Katie Orlinsky’s photography tells stories about the everyday lives of people in extreme situations, capturing the intimate moments of daily life behind larger global issues. For the past six years a large portion of her work has focused on... read on
Environment News Spotlight
on NatGeo: Exclusive: Some Arctic Ground No Longer Freezing—Even in Winter
katie orlinsky
Oct 10, 2018
Location: Siberia

I have a confession to make. I have been photographing climate change for four years, and continue to do so, not only to make others care and understand but to try and wrap my head around this larger than life global crisis myself. In some ways I have grown to understand it better; on an intellectual level (as much as a non-science minded person can), and on an emotional level out of a sense of duty, love and respect for animals and the environment- and most of all- empathy for the people whose lives are already being challenged and transformed. 

However, I had never really felt, in my bones, the weight of it all. I had never felt a sense of real fear, for myself, for those I love most, and for all of humanity. But that was what rushed over me when I finished working in Siberia, my biggest shoot yet for a long-term assignment I am doing with writer Craig Welch for National Geographic. We weren't planning to publish anything any time soon, but it was too important, groundbreaking and scary to wait to share this one aspect of the larger story in Siberia. 

For the first time ever, in some of the coldest places in the world, the ground that insulates permafrost did not freeze. Permafrost is a layer of continuously frozen earth that not only helps maintain the Arctic ecosystem but holds an enormous amount of greenhouse gases including methane, which is 25 times more potent than Carbon Dioxide. When permafrost thaws, which scientists believed would inevitably happen in hundreds of years, these gases will be released into the atmosphere. Everything will change, but now, it might be happening much sooner than we thought. 

And for me, something already has changed. Standing inside the Batagaika Crater on my last shooting day, watching and listening to the earth as it tumbled down towards me, has affected me in ways I have a difficult time articulating. I wish I could just take everyone there, especially those in political power, to experience it first-hand. But I am grateful that at the very least, I can share my photos.


     Exclusive: Some Arctic Ground No Longer Freezing—Even in Winter
          New data from two Arctic sites suggest some surface layers are no longer freezing. If that continues, greenhouse gases from permafrost could accelerate climate change.


Also by Katie Orlinsky —

News Spotlight

The Alexia Foundation is pleased to announce the winner of The Alexia 2019 Professional Grant is Katie Orlinsky of New York, New York for Chasing..

By Katie Orlinsky — Exciting news! Thank you to the wonderful Alexia Foundation for this honor and support, and congratulations..
News Spotlight


By Katie Orlinsky — Katie Orlinsky was a featured guest on 24 Hours of Reality, a global effort to focus debate on..
Media News

on NatGeo: Climate change has finally caught up to this Alaska village

By Katie Orlinsky — After 20 years of flooding, erosion and thawing permafrost, the Yup'ik residents of Newtok are moving to..
Media News Spotlight

on NatGeo: Arctic permafrost is thawing fast. That affects us all.

By Katie Orlinsky — BY CRAIG WELCH PHOTOGRAPHS BY KATIE ORLINSKY As the frozen ground warms much faster than expected,..
Helpful Hints Journals News Spotlight v_features

Katie Orlinsky, Photographer. An Interview with Josh Haftel | Adobe Creative Cloud

By Katie Orlinsky — This week we're talking to New York City based photojournalist and documentary photographer Katie Orlinsky...

Defend the Arctic Refuge from Oil Drilling

By Katie Orlinsky — Help get Obama and congress to pass the legislation we need to keep millions of acres of wilderness in..

Photographing a Story That Changes Before Your Eyes

By Katie Orlinsky — New work on climage change in Alaskan arctic villages after the spring thaw:..

The Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists

By Katie Orlinsky — Honored to be selected by The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) as part of the first group..

Katie Orlinsky featured on WIRED

By Katie Orlinsky — The Inspiring Sled Dogs and Stunning Views at Iditarod by Jakob Schiller Katie Orlinsky is willing to..

Katie Orlinsky featured in New York Times

By Katie Orlinsky — Photos from the early days of this Iditarod in the New York Times today.  View here . 

Katie Orlinsky on Assignment for National Geographic News

By Katie Orlinsky — A few weeks ago, I photographed the toughest sled dog race in the world, the  Yukon Quest ,..
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