Ethical Guidelines for Capturing Human Moments
People in East Greenland are warm and hospitable and welcoming you with a friendly, yet shy smile on their face, when you meet them in East Greenland. Honest curiosity about them, their everyday lives and life in one of the remote places in East Greenland is welcomed. But it still is essential to seek permission before capturing an image of a person, and always respect a ‘no’ or any indication signaling a desire not to be photographed. You are allowed to photograph in public spaces to capture the natural world and buildings and other infrastructure for example. Be mindful when photographing in public, especially during social interactions, gatherings and celebrations by the local community, as excessively intruding with your camera may interfere with the ongoing event. Please respect that it is natural that in times of extensive exposure, for example when bigger cruise ships are in the town or settlement, locals might be less forthcoming when asked about being in a photograph, as it might be overwhelming. Respect privacy, keep a good distance from private houses and never glance or photograph through private windows.
Responsible Wildlife Photography in East Greenland
When photographing wildlife, regardless of their species or size, refrain from disturbing, alarming, approaching, or attempting to feed the animals to elicit a reaction or movement. Instead, exercise patience and savor the moment, recognizing that capturing natural wildlife shots often depends on well-timed opportunities that may not occur hastily during a brief visit. Watching wildlife in its natural and undisturbed environment is a great experience. Maintain a safe -for you and the animal- and respectful distance from wildlife and use telephoto lenses or zoom capabilities to photograph animals from a distance.
Environmental Stewardship: Capturing the Moment
Furthermore, please refrain from altering the placement of objects, plants, or any other elements within the natural environment to achieve a specific photograph. The “right shot” should be captured within the context of the surrounding environment, and it is advisable to adjust your body position or camera angle rather than resorting to physical intervention. Prioritize safety and the welfare of the environment and inhabitants over getting the perfect shot. Be patient and wait for opportunities to capture photos without causing disturbance. Observe any photography restrictions or guidelines set by tour operators, institutions or local authorities. Respect “no photography” signs in sensitive areas.
Framing the Narrative: Photography in East Greenland
Educate yourself and learn about the region’s history, culture, and customs before your visit to better understand the context of your photographs. Respect sacred or culturally significant sites and do not take photos if prohibited. When sharing your photos on social media or elsewhere, provide context and information about the destination and its cultural/social significance. Please refrain from geotagging sensitive or remote locations that could be negatively impacted by increased visits.
To support the local economy, consider purchasing photographs from local photographers or artists to support the community. Buy local products and crafts as souvenirs rather than attempting to replicate them through photography. By following these ethical guidelines, you can capture meaningful and respectful photographs while contributing positively to the preservation of the Arctic’s unique environment and culture.
About the Author
Anna Burdenski is a multifaceted individual with a rich tapestry of experiences spanning across continents. Born and raised in Germany, her journey took her through the vibrant cultures of Malaysia, the charming intricacies landscapes of Denmark, and the picturesque terrains of Austria. In November 2021, Anna chose to immerse herself in the pristine beauty of Tasiilaq, East Greenland. Initially venturing into the region for a research project, her deepening connection with the land soon saw her stepping into the role of a tourism coordinator for the newly established DMO Visit East Greenland in 2023. Her deep respect for local lifestyle, combined with her diverse background and commitment to showcasing the unparalleled beauty of East Greenland, positions her perfectly as a bridge between visitors and the rich tapestry of experiences East Greenland offers. Her journey from a globe-trotter with desire to immerse herself in diverse experiences to becoming part of the community in Tasiilaq centers around the intricacies of cultures and the splendor of nature as her source of inspiration. The rhythmic dance of the boat on the waves and the glint of the sun on the ocean became her meditation, a way for her to feel at one with the surrounding environment. Being exposed to and living with the elements requires a variety of skills, acceptance and patience, which connects to the rhythms of nature and weather.