The magazine of the photo-essay
April 2017 issue
“A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine. Fabulous!”
Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film & documentary maker
by Sverre Chr. Jarild & Julie C. Knarvik
The polar bear constantly attempts to reach the food on the meat rack, and it is important to make it as difficult as
possible for it to do this. Tommy lowers the ladder as soon as the seal carcasses have been hung up. The ladder is
made from timber logs and is padded with metal at the bottom to prevent the predator from getting hold of it with its
claws and climbing up.
“We humans should not assume the role of judging whether this or that species has the right to live. We don’t have the
right to do this, we humans, because we are also animals.”
On day three of sausage making, the sausages are hung up in the smokehouse. All that remains is to light the oven
again with chopped driftwood. He also whittles some small shavings out of the wood.
“We must not romanticise nature. It will always be raw and brutal. It is we who have deluded ourselves into the idea
that everyone should be friends and live for ever.”
The weather changes quickly here, and it is easy for someone not familiar with the sudden changes to be caught out
by bad weather. But Tommy knows these conditions. He knows how volatile the weather can be up here and how small
the margins are. He knows the weather’s temperament.
“It’s almost as if you develop a personal relationship with each and every sausage, as you’ve worked so much with
them,” laughs the hunter. He is satisfied with the thought that three days making reindeer sausages has resulted in
food for the entire winter and well into March.
He lights the stove in the tiny sauna that a previous hunter built. Then he heats water that he pours into a bowl. He
lights candles in the tiny log hut, places his shotgun outside, and with a polar bear lying in the snowdrift a short
distance from the cabin, he washes himself thoroughly.
“We have forgotten that we are a part of nature.”
He likes to work hard, to toil, sweat, hear the sound of the dogs howling expectantly and ready for work before every
trip, and the silence and concentration as they run across the ice. Even though it takes longer and is tiresome at times,
he would never exchange the sled for a snowmobile. Tommy hunts in the old-fashioned way and doesn’t want any
motorised means of conveyance apart from the boat, which he needs in the spring and summer.
The large Greenland dog, Rusk, is let loose and storms towards the bear, while Tommy lets off a shot from a flare pen.
It explodes above the head of the large predator. The bear swings around and runs across the ice with the dog in
pursuit. After a while Rusk returns triumphantly with his tail in the air. The bear slinks away.
“There is not a breath of wind, the polar bear is up there on the hill, the dogs are curled up asleep, the seal is resting on
the ice, grouse are hopping around me here. No, at such times I don’t miss anything.”