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This Nunavut Photographer Takes Stunning Photographs of Arctic Life

Clyde River is in the middle of a legal battle over seismic testing in Baffin Bay. These photos will help you understand why it's such a big deal.

by Niore Iqualukjuak and Ashley Renders
04 May 2015, 7:19pm

Dad helping me butcher my catch ☺. All photos by Niore Iqalukjuak.

This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.

While I was covering the Clyde River story last week, I came across Niore Iqalukjuak's photography and instantly became obsessed. Not just with his photography, but with Clyde River and the Arctic itself.

Last month, Clyde River took the federal government to court over its decision to allow seismic testing in Baffin Bay. The tests would blast high-powered air guns into the ocean floor ten to 15 seconds at a time, 24-hours a day for weeks or months on end.

The companies say the tests won't affect marine life. But the town is worried the blasts, which are said to be 100,000 times louder than a jet engine, will disrupt the migration patterns of marine life. Baffin Bay is home to 90 percent of the world's narwhals and many other animals Clyde River residents rely on for food.

Niore agreed to share his photographs and Facebook comments to help draw attention to the issue and show what life is like around Baffin Bay.

To get started, we had a long phone conversation where he confirmed my suspicion that he's a huge Maple Leafs Fan. He also told me about his adventures exploring the Baffin Bay area and the time he photographed dozens of polar bears hanging out together.

We also talked about how his photographs depict Clyde River as a calm and idyllic place. But in reality, his shoots often last for two or three hours in the freezing wind while he watches his back for polar bears. It's also a place that is battling food insecurity, poverty and a massive lack of infrastructure.

After seeing his pictures and his Facebook comments, you might find yourself thinking, "I want to go to Nunavut."

Last year in July, I vowed I'd make a shout because of desperation. When Canada makes a stance to do things and just walks all over you, it is hard to know who to turn to for help. Today is D-day of sorts. I would like to wish Jerry Natanine the best of luck as he stands to fight Canada in Court today. We aren't ready for this and I hope our Leader's will ensure that we prepare for these types of industries where if oil industry does go ahead, our People will benefit the most from it. I doubt that we'll see it during my dad's era but I'm sure we'll see it while we are still alive.

Joanasie Akumalik (left) and Niore Iqalukjuak (right) in Iqaluit, Nunavut, 2014.

Ainn, my Panni Pann, my Too Too Much. <3

Cape Dorset Nunavut, June 2013. We had a small feast and a get-together with the people there as a “get-to-know-us” event.

Joavie Etuangat tending the fire while Ronnie Kautuq keeps a look out for Narwhal.

ᐅᓪᓚᐃᓐᓇᒐᖅ - Ullainnagaq - is up on Sillem Island at Scott Inlet, ᓇᑦᑎᖅᓱᔪᖅ. Its name is "The place to run all the way to." Its name became just like out of the scene from Atanaarjuat. A man had this woman who another man wanted and so they tried to kill him while he was sleeping in his tent. He ran out of his tent and started running. He ran to this area from quite a distance but from exhaustion, it is said he died when he got here. So they named it "ᐅᓪᓚᐃᓐᓇᒐᖅ"—Ullainnagaq.

The successful hunters. They said it was 54 feet.

Yeah, our bunnies do actually shower :P

They climb the ice as if it isn't even slippery, like they don't even slow down when climbing...

If you dropped these, they are along the shoreline near Tupiqtalik. I don't know if they were thrown or dropped. Didn't feel like saying finders keepers.

Well, I went on a one-minute shopping spree and look what I managed to fill ☺ Thanks to the Hamlet for providing us with yummy food when they officially opened the Hamlet office.

Water delivery ☺

Most times, being on top doesn't mean you are at the top ☺

Last week I went to see Grandma and Grandpa over at their resting place and then I went to see Mom at her resting place.