A Beauty This Immense

Images from where it’s always winter... for now

Now this is what photography is for. That's the thought that ran through my mind upon first seeing Camille Seaman's series "The Last Iceberg," which shows this month at the Photographic Center Northwest along with Lisa M. Robinson's equally affecting "Snowbound." Next came, inevitably, lyrics from Björk's icily romantic album Vespertine: "He's the beautifullest, fragilest, still strong. Dark and divine, and the littleness of his movements hides himself." Internationally celebrated for her polar images, Seaman traveled to Antarctica, Greenland, and Svalbard (Norway) to capture the distinct personalities of crumbling and stranded icebergs. Some rise up like luminous, multicolored monoliths in a placid black sea, while others resemble the jagged cross sections of a broken crystal. One frosty blue expanse is visited, seemingly miraculously, by life in the form of a flock of birds. I kept reminding myself that I didn't have to suspend disbelief in these natural wonders, that they actually do exist. But as we've come to realize, Seaman understands how soon they no longer will, and documents their final days with the care of an affectionate biographer. (Note: This show opens Jan. 19. We just wanted to give you a head start.) Gallery open daily, hours vary. Show ends Feb. 27. Wed., Jan. 16, 2008 RACHEL SHIMP

 
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