Partly brought up on an isolated farm on the south coast of Iceland, by a generation who lived off only what the land gave, photographer RAX became fascinated with nature and its forms. We will visit these places, and watch him work. “It was really only one photograph that started me off” he says. An old man in a rowing boat and his dog on a skerry. I thought to myself: These men are vanishing. If I don’t photograph them now, no one will remember them and no one will know that they ever existed.”
Ragnar Axelsson, RAX, has worked for Morgunbladid, Iceland’s biggest newspaper since 1976. His own projects have been published in LIFE, National Geographic, Le Figaro, Stern, La Vanguardia, Time and many other magazines and newspapers.
We join RAX on his journey as he visits friends he has made through his work. His passion is documenting the fast deteriorating lifestyles of the North. We visit his friends, farmers in Iceland- and the free spirited hunters of Greenland. RAX has tirelessly followed the lives of some of these people for the past twenty years. In Greenland we meet people who are so intertwined with nature, that they are more afraid of government officials than of a starving polar bear looking for prey.
RAX's methods of catching the right moment are the same as a hunter’s, waiting for his prey. Fascinated by stories of half forgotten people who live in circumstances most of us will never experience he places himself side by side with people who suddenly have to face and deal with new realities due to the changing world climate. We sense the difficulties the hunters of Greenland are up against. It can take RAX weeks in the company of his subjects before he earns the right to hear their stories. First they want to find out what he is made of since being out on the ice with the Inuits, is not for just anyone. When he has shown his strength, and proven himself worthy he takes up the camera. We see how this man manages to work with the Inuits- without speaking their language, and how he deals with their lifestyle with utter respect.
RAX is an adventure seeker risks. His mission is his biggest passion: to document this lifestyle and bring it to the world before it ‘s too late. Our film is his journey, a visual project that will both use new footage filmed on location, as well as RAX´s photos through the years.
Magnús Viðar Sigurðsson: One of Iceland’s most widely respected figures in the film and TV industry. Magnus has directed a number of documentaries and TV ads as well as serving as the Head of Production at Sagafilm.
The production team behind The Last Days of the Arctic is the most prolific and awarded in the Icelandic Film and TV industry.
Producers: Kjartan Thor Thordarson, Margrét Jónasdóttir and Magnus Vidar Sigurdsson.