The Salix Polaris book came to being as the effect of a journey I made with Polish scientists to the Polish Polar Station, Hornsund on Spitsbergen (August/September 2012). The photographs taken there resulted from meeting people whose lives are inseparably connected with science and nature. The title’s polar willow (Salix Polaris) is a small shrub only a few centimetres high. Its form resembles the human nervous or circulatory system. It is strong, wind and frost resistant, and its fresh sprouts also develop under snow. The willow is defined by dendrologists, who can tell its age by the number of growth rings and read its past, using a microscope to examine the scars in the rings. To me, the polar willow has become a symbol of explorers’ determination.
This is not a typical album of photographs from the trip. This is a hypnotic story about confrontation with nature and other people. And above all, a story about the struggle with oneself.
Anka Sielska (1978) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice, Poland, and the Institute of Creative Photography in Opava, Czech Republic. In 2009, she received a PhD in film arts, in photography, from the Leon Schiller National Film, Television, and Theatre School, Łódź, Poland. She has had several solo exhibitions and taken part in group exhibitions in Poland and abroad. She is a lecturer in photography at the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice.