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A symbol of strength, survival despite hardship and – more recently – the perils of global warming, the polar bear wears many different faces across the world. Polar Bears: A Life Under Threat is an uncompromising exploration of the animal behind the mythos. Rawicki's anthology transports us to the Arctic: the bears' home territory. His photographs depict playful cubs, hunting mothers and solitary adults on their yearly migration. The bears' innate curiosity shines through, as they peer through windows and rear up on their hind legs to study the camera. As well as trekking across miles of dazzling snow, they forage in forests and towns – leading to a striking series of photographs that document the relationship between bear, man and environment. Accompanying these images are a series of essays, poems and even a quiz, from the minds of Michel Rawicki and his contributors: Hubert Reeves, astrophysicist, and Remy Marion, author of several books about the polar regions. They explain the challenges encountered by polar bears in the modern age, and explore the future of a species threatened by climate change and pollution.
Michel Rawicki made his first expedition to the Arctic at 43, and has dedicated himself to documenting the changing landscape of the poles ever since. His photography develops an intimate dialogue with his animal subjects, observing their lifelong struggle for survival. Although Rawicki began using a digital camera in 2002, he still works with panoramic film in a 6 × 17 cm format.